Las Vegas knew something no one else did. Saturday night’s USC vs. Utah score will turn plenty of heads, as the unranked favorite Trojans, outplayed and beat the nation’s third-ranked Utes. USC got the upset by a score of 42-24.
The lowdown: They may have been 6-0 and undefeated, but the Trojans didn’t let Utah look like it. USC took it to the Utes by routing the previous Pac-12 South favorite and busting the division race wide open. Travis Wilson threw three interceptions to freshman linebacker Cameron Smith, and the Trojans used an excellent performance from Cody Kessler and JuJu Smith-Schuster to dispatch the Utes. Kessler was 21 of 28 for 264 yards and had a dagger touchdown pass to Smith-Schuster in the fourth quarter to ice it.
The takeaway: Despite playing without several key players, including three starting offensive linemen due to various injuries, USC outplayed the Utes in all phases of the game. They did so by winning in the key areas that Utah has made a habit of dominating, like the turnover battle. The Trojans picked off Wilson twice in the second quarter to grab momentum and never gave it up, after relying on their bread and butter run game in the second half. In a nutshell, USC played a game many have been clamoring for. They didn’t force Kessler to carry the offense and routinely put their best players in the best position to win the game. The result is that the Trojans made it look awfully easy being Utah, which goes to show how baffling coaching decisions have been all season.
Player of the game: Freshman linebacker Cameron Smith helped the Trojans grab control of the game in the second quarter when he had a pair of interceptions off of Wilson. The second pick was returned for a touchdown and gave USC a two-score lead going into halftime. He added a third interception in the fourth quarter.
Stat of the game: Through three games under interim head coach Clay Helton, USC is outscoring opponents 56-3 in the second quarter.
Next on tap: After knocking off the 3rd-ranked Utes, the Trojans will get back to work next Saturday afternoon in Strawberry Canyon, where the upstart Cal Bears will look for their first win over USC since 2003.