The No. 20 USC Trojans lead the No. 19 Utah Utes, 14-10, in Salt Lake City after one half.
Adoree’ Jackson’s 100-yard kickoff return touchdown proved the difference in a turnover-heavy half, which also featured a 53-yard defensive touchdown by Utah in the opening minute.
Cody Kessler led the way with 13-of-16 passing for 166 yards and a touchdown. JuJu Smith caught six passes for 77 yards and a touchdown, while Buck Allen gained 36 yards on the ground.
For Utah, Travis Wilson went 9-of-16 for 113 yards. Devontae Booker was held mostly in check with just 32 yards and three fumbles. Tight end Westlee Tonga led the Utes in receptions with five for 64 yards.
USC’s second quarter started like the first, costly mistakes sinking the offense. Nelson Agholor seemed to have a first down secured but he cut back and slipped. On short yardage, Allen was stuffed and then a bad snap on fourth down turned the ball over to the Utes.
Utah failed to take advantage of the turnover. J.R. Tavai stormed into the backfield on third down to take down Wilson behind the line.
An exceptional punt pinned USC deep once more and they were forced to kick it back to Utah after three plays.
The Utes continued to find success on third down and were soon enough knocking on the Trojans’ door once again. Just as he did in the early goings, Booker flirted with disaster at the goal line when Leonard Williams knocked the ball loose, but the Utes fell back on top of the third redzone fumble of the night. An over thrown Wilson ball to the corner of the endzone resulted in a kick attempt, which Andy Phillips converted from 24 yards for the lead.
They did not have the lead for long, as Jackson took the kick off and burst down the sideline for the touchdown.
With time winding down in the half, Utah moved towards midfield, but Su’a Cravens came off the edge untouched and sacked Wilson for an 11-yard loss, effectively ending the drive.
The Trojans did nothing with the ball on the ensuing drive and the half ended after a stalled Utah drive.
In the first quarter, the Utes got things started by picking up a lateral pass which was dropped by Darreus Rogers and returning it for a touchdown after just 33 seconds. The Trojans responded with a scoring drive and then the defense came up big by forcing a fumble at the goal line after a long Utah drive.
Stay tuned to Reign of Troy for more USC vs. Utah score updates and post-game content.