USC vs. Utah 2017: Studs and duds from the Trojans’ comeback win

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images /
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Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images /

Saturday night in the Coliseum USC vs. Utah went down to the wire in a Pac-12 South showdown. Let’s take a look at the Studs and Duds from the Trojan win.

The Men of Troy and the Utes of Utah played a nail-biter Saturday night in Los Angeles. Thanks to an incredible defensive performance by USC, Utah will have to wait longer for a chance to win in the Coliseum.

Utah gave USC an incredible fight but came up short on a gutsy two-point conversion call in the fourth.

Let’s look at those who were bright and those who were dim in the Studs and Duds from Week 7:


The USC Defense

There were quite a few standout performances from the USC defense, that they had to be recognized as a unit. In a conference with a plethora of offenses who can put up points, USC’s defense has done an incredible job against the odds.

The USC offense has turned the ball over multiple times in just about every game they have played this season. But to their credit, the USC defense has not allowed points off of a turnover so far this season.

With the offense struggling again tonight captains Uchenna Nwosu and Cameron Smith made big plays. Aiding the two captains were redshirt sophomore Christian Rector, who added two sacks to his impressive tally this season, and senior Josh Fatu in the trenches.

Utah’s Kyle Whittingham and Troy Taylor

Troy Taylor’s offense may have gone a long period of time without scoring, but you have to respect his playcalling ability. Taylor, a former quarterback who likes to throw the ball, adjusted as soon as he saw how effective Utah running back Zack Moss was on the ground. That’s something that USC fans have craved from their playcalling all season.

Taylor also showed incredible contextual awareness when the game got tight. Whittingham clearly told Taylor when he had four downs and Taylor dialed up plays that reflected that. The bootleg on fourth-and-one on the game-tying drive was an incredible call. It not only got Troy Williams on the edge but gave him a target downfield.

Also, absolute respect to Whittingham for going for two to try to win the game.

Tee Martin

Studs and Duds is nothing if not fair, and would be remiss if we did not tip our hat to Tee Martin’s gameplan. It was everything that it needed to be for USC to pull off a win.

USC attacked the edges with the zone read look, trying to set up bigger running lanes later in the game. Martin also used two tight ends to perfection, Falo and Petite had big touchdowns in big moments.

The plan was absolutely magnificent, seeing the big picture of what Tee Martin had planned for Utah was a glimpse. It was a glimpse of what Clay Helton saw in Martin to trust him with this offense and where he can take it. However, there are still some concerns, which we will look at later.

Honorable Mentions:

Sam Darnold and Ronald Jones II came up big for USC tonight. Darnold threw for over 350 yards to go with three touchdowns. More importantly, he finished his first game without an interception, even though he did, in fact, try to throw one.

It hurts to see a running back as gifted as Jones II not be featured in this offense. Darnold is good, but if Jones II was at Stanford, or any other school who valued the run, he would be tied with Bryce Love for the FBS lead in rushing yards. USC is lucky he is so good that he is not the type of back needing a rhythm to get going and can be electric every time he touches the ball.