USC vs. Utah final score, recap: Trojans stun No. 10 Utes

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

Friday night’s USC vs. Utah final score was a shocker, with the Trojans getting the best of the No. 10 Utes at the Coliseum.

Sometimes you think you know what’s going to happen in a football game. Other times, you’re dealt something like Friday night’s USC vs. Utah final score, which seemingly defies everything.

The Trojans beat No. 10 Utah 30-23, despite rushing for just 13 yards and having to go down to their third-string quarterback, Matt Fink.

Let’s recap it, shall we?

The lowdown: Everything started disastrously for USC, with true freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis going down on the second play of the game after a big hit from Utah defensive lineman Leki Fotu. The Trojans would turn to a third-string quarterback for the second-straight year and lo and behold, things clicked for Matt Fink early on.

He threw for 138 yards on his first two drives, leading USC to a 14-7 lead with touchdown passes to Tyler Vaughns and Amon-Ra St. Brown.

But the rest of the first half would revolve around Utah’s inability to finish off drives. The Utes stalled at the USC 27-yard line or better on their last four possessions before halftime, scoring just three points.

It would come back to bite Utah, who were without star running back Zack Moss, due to a shoulder injury.

The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter and Utah made a field goal to pull within a point, 21-20, before USC found a way to take over the game late, despite not being able to run the ball or get any contributions from anyone not named Michael Pittman.

They did it when freshman defensive end Drake Jackson got to Ute quarterback Tyler Huntley in the end zone to force a safety on intentional grounding with seven minutes to play. Then, Fink completed a 43-yard pass to Pittman to set up one final score from freshman tailback Markese Stepp. A dap up of Reggie Bush and a penalty later, USC led No. 10 Utah by 10 points.

That’d be enough, as Huntley and the Utes ran out of gas and had to settle for another field goal on their final drive. The game ended 30-23.

The takeaway: What’s there really to say about one of the weirdest games we’ve ever seen in our lives?

Did USC become a better football team Friday night? Probably not. Graham Harrell’s system makes the quarterback matter less than any modern Trojan offense in memory, but they’re still down to third-string quarterback Matt Fink, who lacks the upside of Kedon Slovis.

Is there any reason to believe they’ll do this again at Washington and Notre Dame in coming weeks? Certainly not. Fink had his moments and the repeatedly defense hung tough, but another shoddy offensive line performance had the attack turn into a one-trick pony with Michael Pittman leading the way again.

But in a season seemingly in shambles, with a head coach all but left for dead, it was a magical win for the Trojans, led in part by transfer portal refugee Fink, capped off with a Reggie Bush celebration on the game-winning touchdown.

Yes. Again. Reggie Bush. In 2019. At the Coliseum. That happened, giving more proof that football doesn’t have to make sense.

This team most likely still won’t put it together to win the Pac-12, but for one night at least, USC is the frontrunner in the South, after a seven-point win over the No. 10 ranked team in the country. That’s something to revel in, if you’re a Trojan.

Player of the game: Michael Pittman was an unreal playmaker yet again for the Trojans. He had a career night receiving, with 232 receiving yards on 10 catches. His highlights included a 78-yard score to extend the USC lead in the 3rd quarter, followed by a 43-yard haul in the fourth quarter to set up the game-winning touchdown.

Stat of the game: Utah has still never beaten USC at the Coliseum. Also, USC’s 13 rushing yards was their fewest in a victory this decade, failing to top the 23-yard performance against No. 5 Stanford in 2013.

Next on tap: USC continues their schedule from hell next week with their first trip to Washington since an upset win in 2016. The dangerous Huskies are 2-1 and will travel to Provo on Saturday to play red-hot BYU.