USC football: Studs and duds in the Trojans’ loss to Utah

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /
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Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

USC football fell flat on their face on Saturday, losing to Utah in Salt Lake City 41-28. Needless to say, the negatives beat out the positives this week.

MORE. Time for Tee to Go

USC football came into Saturday’s game against Utah with control of the Pac-12 South on the line. In the end, it was the Utes who controlled the evening.

The Trojans jumped out to a quick lead, but things quickly unraveled from there.

Here are the studs and duds from the 41-28 loss…


Michael Pittman

Let’s put it this way, Pittman’s four catches for 107 yards and a touchdown accounted for 81 percent of USC’s passing yards on the night and 52 percent of the total yardage for the Trojans. He bailed JT Daniels out on a desperation throw, grabbing what was essentially a Hail Mary ball over the top of two defenders to score the first touchdown of the night. He also set up a field goal attempt with his long of 42. Few in cardinal and gold could come out with their head held high. Pittman is chief among them.

Matt Fink

Who would have thought that Matt Fink would come out smelling as close to roses as any Trojan on the field. The backup quarterback came into the game for the injured Daniels in the fourth quarter and proceeded to complete 6-of-7 pass attempts while adding 21 yards on the ground. He tossed a touchdown pass to Tyler Petite and prompted serious questions about whether USC’s offense would be better off with No. 19 at the helm.

Christian Rector

With Porter Gustin out for the rest of the season, USC’s biggest question on defense was where the pass rush would come from in his absence. Christian Rector once again answered with two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss against Utah. It wasn’t a perfect performance as he allowed Tyler Huntley out of his grasp on more than one occasion, but it was proof positive that the rush wouldn’t be sidelined with Gustin.

Jay Tufele

On his homecoming to Utah, it couldn’t have been more fitting for Jay Tufele to be the one to pick up John Houston’s forced fumble on Huntley and rumble towards the endzone for a touchdown. It’s just a shame the moment wasn’t accompanied by a win.

Special Teams

It’s been an up-and-down season for USC special teams, but they came to play against Utah, providing big momentum moments to give the Trojans the slightest hope of an ultimately improbable comeback. Greg Johnson recovered a muffed punt to set up a drive on the 14-yard line. Later, Pittman blocked a punt to put USC at the nine.