October 24, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans linebacker Cameron Smith (35) celebrates the 42-24 victory against the Utah Utes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Smith recorded three interceptions and one touchdown in the game. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
USC vs. Utah saw the Trojans get their season back on track by knocking off the nation’s No. 3 ranked team.
Here’s a look at who stood out in USC’s 42-24 win for all the right reasons and all the wrong reasons:
Who were the studs?
Cameron Smith: True freshman middle linebacker Cam Smith had a career day against Utah, with a pair of second quarter interceptions that helped build momentum in USC’s favor. He returned the first one down to the four-yard line to set up a Soma Vainuku touchdown run, and finished off the second pick by getting into the end zone just before the half. It was his first touchdown as a Trojan, as he joined Osa Masina and Chris Hawkins as defenders who have scored defensive touchdowns this year. He would complete the hat trick in the second half with yet another interception to ice the game. In the tackle department, Smith led USC with nine.
Justin Davis and Ronald Jones: The Trojan running back duo went into the game knowing that the coaches intended to commit to the run against the Pac-12 top rushing defense. They did not back down from that responsibility, showing off their potential in different ways with 34 touches between them. Davis became the workhorse, eating up tough yards in the middle for a 76 yards and a touchdown. Jones fulfilled his role as one of USC’s most exciting young playmakers by running for an 18-yard score and leading the team with 81 yards on the ground.
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Smith-Schuster had a routine outing in terms of numbers, hauling in eight catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. However, it was the moments he made the difference which elevated him to stud status. On three occasions Smith-Schuster extended USC drives by helping convert third downs. He also nabbed the long touchdown grab which effectively ended the game.
Bubble Screens: Though most USC fans dread the mere mention of bubble screens, let along having to watch their team execute them over and over, the bubble screen was USC’s most effective weapon on the night against a tough Utah defense. The Utes did not allow much room to work with, but the Trojans found a way to take what was available in the most effective way possible. Playmakers like Smith-Schuster and Adoree’ Jackson were able to generate valuable yardage on those extended handoffs, but most importantly they took the pressure off of Cody Kessler and the offensive line, which struggled through injuries to find their way.