After going down 21-7 at halftime, the USC Football Trojans put together an inspired performance to win 28-27 and exact their revenge on a Utah team that defeated them last season.
On a chaotic day in the world of college football, the USC Football Trojans managed to avoid a slip-up against conference rivals Utah. Throughout the first half, however, USC looked like a team that was trying to join the group of ranked teams to lose this weekend.
Sam Darnold was responsible for three fumbles lost, including one that was returned by Utah safety Marquise Blair for a touchdown to give the Utes a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Darnold and the offense answered on the next drive on a 52-yard strike to tight end Tyler Petite to tie the game.
Utah proceeded to dominate the second quarter, as Darnold continued to turn the ball over. Wide receiver Demari Simpkins connected with quarterback Troy Williams on a trick play for a 5-yard touchdown early in the second quarter. Williams connected with Simpkins again in the second quarter, this time with Williams doing the throwing for a 33-yard strike to Simpkins to make it 21-7 in favor of the Utes.
The USC offense continued to stall throughout the second quarter, and USC fans couldn’t help but think about the possibility of including freshman backup quarterback Matt Fink in the offense. Defensively, the Trojans couldn’t find an answer for Utah running back Zack Moss who finished the game with 141 yards on 20 carries.
The Trojans looked like a completely different football team in the second half, as they began to establish the run with Ronald Jones II leading the charge. Sam Darnold finally avoided his turnover-prone habits and found Tyler Petite for a second touchdown, this one for 17 yards to pull the Trojans within seven.
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The Trojan defense rose to the occasion to stop Troy Williams and the Utah offense in the second half. Junior linebacker Cameron Smith seemed as if he was involved in every play, as he paced the Trojans with 16 tackles. Smith also had a huge interception to stop the Utes in the red zone in the first half.
USC was able to tie the game on a 99-yard drive that was capped off with a touchdown pass from Sam Darnold to Josh Falo. It was Falo’s first career touchdown reception and helped the Trojans overcome the deficit and tie the game at 21.
Continuing their excellent defensive play, USC got the ball back and Ronald Jones II took matters into his own hands when he flipped into the end zone from 11 yards out to give the Trojans the lead for good.
Utah was able to get down the field one more time to score on a quarterback sneak from Troy Williams. However, head coach Kyle Whittingham opted to go for a two-point conversion to try to win the game in regulation. Williams rolled to his right and was taken down by a bevy of Trojan defenders, and USC won their 14th straight home game.
It was a sloppy performance from the USC Football Trojans, and they’ll be looking to clean up their play when they take a trip to Notre Dame next week.