NEWS USC vs. Utah scores, takeaways: Utes dominate, Trojans defend Pac-12 title, grab Rose Bowl seat

USC vs. Utah scores, takeaways: Utes dominate, Trojans defend Pac-12 title, grab Rose Bowl seat

11th-ranked Utah played a showdown role Friday night with a 47-24 win over No. 4 USC in the 2022 Pac-12 tournament.The innards of the Trojans, which saw the Utes take advantage of multiple injuries to USC quarterback Caleb Williams, not only put Utah in the Rose Bowl for a second straight season, but potentially Knock USC Get out of the College Football Playoff.

While that won’t be known for sure until Sunday, it’s extremely unlikely that the two-game losing Trojans will see four teams lose two games to the Utes this season. Looking to replace USC is No. 5 Ohio State, which lost only to No. 2 Michigan.

USC took a 17-3 lead in the first half on a strong performance from Williams. However, the Heisman Trophy favorites were slowed under the weight of a pair of injuries, including a hamstring injury, that opened the door for Utah to bounce back from a 14-point deficit just before halftime and take the lead in the second half. 30-7 over USC.

When Utah beat the Trojans 43-42 on Oct. 15, tight end Dalton Kincaid was one of Utah’s heroes. However, with Kincaid slowed down by a lower back injury on Friday night, a variety of roles became a threat in quarterback Camrissian’s passing game. After scoring five touchdowns in their first encounter with the Trojans, Rising had another solid performance Saturday, including second-half touchdown passes of 57 yards to Moni Parks and 60 yards to Thomas Yasmin . Neither player was the Utes’ number one target during the regular season, but they both played huge roles in Kinkade’s reduced role. Ja’Quinden Jackson scored a 53-yard touchdown with 5:29 left to seal the win.

Otherwise, the story is Williams. The second-year star threw for two touchdowns and ran for an incredible 59 yards in the first quarter alone. He looked unstoppable. However, a pinky finger injury on his throwing hand and a hamstring injury limited his mobility and accuracy for the remainder of the game. When he slowed down, the Trojan slowed down too.

Williams ‘not even 50 percent’

When Williams rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter to give USC a 14-3 lead, he looked like the dynamic player who wowed the nation for most of the season. organizational core. For much of the rest of the game, though, he looked like a different player. That dizzying run, it turned out, resulted in a hamstring injury, according to coach Lincoln Riley.

One of the first clear signs that Williams might be changing came late in the second quarter, when his sacks in the second and first quarters were often elusive and Williams couldn’t escape Utah defensive end Gabred’s attack. control. In the following games, similar scenes were staged many times. Utah had seven sacks against Williams, who at times walked and jogged with a noticeable limp.

“He wasn’t even at 50 percent,” Riley said after the game. “I thought about taking him out but he wouldn’t let me … it was probably the bravest display of courage I’ve ever seen.”

Although he should still be the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy, Williams’ rough night could add some drama to the vote. Other potential candidates like Michigan running back Blake Collum and Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker also dealt with season-ending injuries that took momentum from their campaigns. If nothing else, this game showed just how important Williams is to USC. Once he’s shooting below 100 percent, the holes in the Trojans’ pass protection become more apparent and they can’t control the football.

utah repeat

A 29-26 loss in Florida in Week 1 changed the perception of the Utes. Despite entering the season viewed as a potential CFP team, Utah faces an uphill climb after just one game. With star tight end Brant Kuithe missing early in the season with an injury and the Utes trailing 4-2 in a loss to UCLA on Oct. 8, it looked like a disappointing year was ahead. However, as it has become the norm for the program under 18-year-old Kyle Whittingham, Utah persevered.

While the UCLA loss essentially knocked Utah out of CFP contention, the Utes beat USC for the first time the following week and remained locked into a return to the Pac-12 title game. The program has competed in the league championship in four of the past five seasons and has now won the title two years in a row. After its second Pac-12 loss to Oregon in November, Utah actually went through a complicated tiebreaker to get to the Pac-12 title game, beating Washington and the Ducks. Regardless of how they ended up in the game, the Utes walked away with the trophy in their hands.

USC’s defense falls short

While Williams’ injury will rightfully get a lot of attention from Friday’s result, USC’s mediocre defense was arguably more important in determining the outcome. Utah converted five of 11 third downs and disrupted three plays of 50 yards or more. A standout example of USC’s poor tackles came when Utah faced a three-pointer and 19 points from its own 43-yard line early in the third quarter. With the game tied at 17, it looked like the Trojans were about to force a three-pointer when Rising hit Parks for a go-ahead touchdown.

Many defenders had chances against Parks, but he accelerated to break through the defense and give Utah the lead. The Utes finished for 533 yards and were effective on the ground and in the air. The Trojans have been stellar on turnovers all year (they’re at +21), but they’ll need to make a major effort defensively as they’re second-year national title contenders under Riley. Improve.

CFP wants Ohio State

For now, Ohio State’s 45-23 loss to Michigan last week appears to be the deathblow to the Buckeyes’ CFP aspirations, as it knocked them out of the Big Ten championship game and dropped them out of the top four in the CFP rankings. As it turns out, Ohio State still has a chance to compete for the national title. Unless the CFP selection committee decides to admit a two-loss team for the first time in its nine-year history, Ohio State will be an obvious pick. At 11-1, the Buckeyes can make the playoffs for the second time as non-division champions. They also went 11-1 in 2016, when Penn State won the Big Ten East, though they lost to Clemson 31-0 in the semifinals.

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