USC football vs. Utah: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Trojans battle Utes

Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown #8 celebrates with tight end Tyler Petite #82 of the USC Trojans after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game against the UNLV Rebels at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 1, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown #8 celebrates with tight end Tyler Petite #82 of the USC Trojans after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game against the UNLV Rebels at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 1, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – With three consecutive wins including a 31-20 victory over previously undefeated Colorado last weekend, USC has overcome a rough 1-2 start to emerge as the frontrunner to represent the South Division in the Pac-12 Championship Game. But now the Trojans face perhaps their biggest obstacle for a berth in the Nov. 30 contest at Levi's Stadium when they travel to surging Utah on Saturday night.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: Utah -6.5

 

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The Utes have won two in a row since opening Pac-12 play with back-to-back losses to Washington and at Washington State and have been impressive doing it, snapping then-No. 14 Stanford's 11-game home winning streak, 40-21, and following that up with a 42-10 smack down of Arizona last Friday night. Utah also has won the last two meetings with the Trojans at Rice-Eccles Stadium and will control its own destiny for a South Division title with a win on Saturday night. "We have a big challenge this week with USC coming to town," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Monday at his weekly press conference. "Every conference game is very important going forward. ... We don't place any extra weight on any one game than another. That is just how you have to operate. Every week you have to bring your 'A' game and be ready to go." 

ABOUT USC (4-2, 3-1 Pac-12)

Although all eyes have been focused on the play of true freshman quarterback JT Daniels, it was the Trojans' defense that came up big in the win over Colorado, holding the Buffaloes to just 265 total yards, including 164 over the first three quarters while taking a 28-7 lead, and senior cornerback Ajene Harris returning an interception six yards for a touchdown. "I was very proud of them," USC coach Clay Helton said of his defense. "It just felt like we were playing in the backfield the entire night, whether it was in the running game or the passing game." Daniels overcame a pair of first-quarter interceptions to throw for 283 yards and three TDs, two of them to junior wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., including a 65-yarder.

ABOUT UTAH (4-2, 2-2)

The Utes rank first in the Pac-12 in both total defense and scoring defense allowing an average of 300 yards and 16 points per game. Linebacker Chase Hansen leads the way with 52 tackles, including 11 for loss which ties him for 10th nationally. Quarterback Tyler Huntley was a triple threat in the win over Arizona, passing for 201 yards and two TDs, rushing for 64 yards and a touchdown and also catching a 58-yard scoring pass.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Utah ranks second in the nation rushing defense (74.8 yards per game) and also red-zone defense, allowing opponents just seven touchdowns and two field goals on 16 trips inside their 20.

2. The Utes have scored 40 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2015 when they beat Fresno State (45-24) and Oregon (62-20) in consecutive weeks.

3. USC OLB Porter Gustin, who ranks fifth in the nation in sacks (1.2 per game) and had 14 tackles for loss, broke his ankle late in the Colorado win and is sidelined for the rest of the season.

PREDICTION: USC 24, Utah 20

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