The nice Southern California groups had been identified for his or her confidence. On the street in opposition to Utah, these Trojans took one other step towards restoring this system’s previous glory.
“We performed with a swagger tonight, particularly on protection,” coach Clay Helton mentioned.
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Kedon Slovis threw for 2 touchdowns and No. 20 USC smothered Utah in a 33-17 victory Saturday.
Slovis accomplished 24 of 35 passes for 264 yards for USC (Three-Zero, Three-Zero Pac-12), however the Trojans’ protection took centerstage, forcing 5 turnovers to remain undefeated and transfer into pole place for the Pac-12 South title.
“All week, our guys talked about enjoying like this was a bar combat. We performed with loads of viciousness and everybody was zeroed in,” linebacker Kana’I Mauga mentioned.
USC’s sport plan from the outset was to cease Utah’s floor sport.
“In any respect prices, cease the run,” Helton mentioned. “As soon as we did that, our move rush compelled throws that had been interceptions, bought sacks and fumbles. We had been within the backfield all evening.”
Utah (Zero-1, Zero-1) was the ultimate main convention workforce to make its 2020 debut after coronavirus instances scuttled its first two scheduled video games of an already-delayed season.
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The lengthy layoff didn’t do the Utes any favors as they made important errors and couldn’t get any rhythm happening offense. Constant quarterback stress by the Trojans and a rugged rush protection had loads to do with that.
“I believed we’d be way more productive offensively with the veterans now we have there. Our O-line didn’t take management or push individuals round like we anticipated,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham mentioned.
Cameron Rising, a Texas switch, made his first begin for Utah however threw an interception within the first quarter after which was strip-sacked by Marlon Tuipulotu for his second turnover and bought injured on the play. Vavae Malepeai scored on a brief run one play later to offer USC a 10-Three lead.
Jake Bentley, a graduate switch from South Carolina, changed Rising however was usually off track. After two negative-yard drives and misfires on his first 4 passes, Bentley used a 33-yard run to spark the Utes’ offense and capped the primary half with a 7-yard landing strike to Samson Nacua. USC led 24-17 at halftime.
The USC protection, led by Ralen Goforth’s 12 tackles and Mauga’s 11 stops, harassed Bentley and stored Utah scoreless within the second half. After two comeback wins, USC’s first victory in Salt Lake Metropolis since 2012 ended with out a lot drama.
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“The arrogance was simply radiating, so I even mentioned, ‘Go get the ball and produce it to me.’ Two performs later, they bought the turnover and handed me the soccer,” Helton mentioned.
Within the second half, USC engineered three drives that concluded in Parker Lewis area objectives. The protection did the remainder.
The Trojans didn’t look notably polished themselves and didn’t have a bevy of offensive fireworks. Maxs Tupai sacked Slovis, and Nephi Sewell scooped up the fumble and took it 23 yards for Utah’s first landing.
“I have to execute higher. We left loads of factors on the board,” Slovis mentioned.
Slovis hit Tyler Vaughns for an Eight-yard rating after a 42-yard completion to Vaughns that lastly bought the Trojans’ offense rolling.
On a run-pass choice, Slovis threw a 10-yard landing to Erik Krommenhoek for a 24-10 lead.
The Utes have yearly featured one of many Pac-12’s high defenses, however they needed to change 9 defensive starters from final season. Surprisingly, it was the dearth of offense that scuttled any upset bid.
USC snapped Utah’s 11-game dwelling profitable streak.
“Nothing feels common this yr,” Whittingham mentioned.
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After profitable their first two video games by a mixed 5 factors, USC’s 16-point victory will look good to voters and the Trojans ought to rise within the rankings.
USC: The protection regarded stout. The offense nonetheless hasn’t reached its potential and the unit struggled to run the ball, however the passing of Slovis was loads ok. USC has two dwelling video games and a go to to crosstown rival UCLA remaining, organising the Trojans for a giant end to this shortened season. “We are going to hit on all cylinders sometime quickly and I look ahead to it,” Helton mentioned.
Utah: The Utes had been fearful a couple of actually younger protection, however the offense’s lack of ability to maneuver the ball and the 5 turnovers doomed Utah. “We knew it was going to take a while with this younger group however we hope it’s going to come quickly,” Whittingham mentioned.
Southern California: Hosts Colorado subsequent weekend.
Utah: Performs at Arizona State subsequent weekend.