Instant Reaction: USC 23, Utah 14


In the first inter-conference game in Pac-12 history, the USC Trojans narrowly beat the Utah Utes in a nail biter with the final score of 23-14. This was a game that should not have been as close as it was. The Trojans repeatedly shot themselves in the foot with a host of penalties and untimely turnovers including an interception and a fumble in the red zone. On the Utes final drive of the night, USC gave away key field position on a pass interference call that set up Utah for their game wining field goal attempt. Thankfully for USC, the DL got a great push and were able to block Utah’s game winning field goal attempt and return it for a touchdown to preserve their victory and start their 2011 season with a 2-0 record.

Give a lot of credit to Utah. In their first Pac-12 game they showed a lot of heart, fighting up until the very last second on the road in one of the toughest places to play. Utah Quarterback Jordan Wynn was able to lead his team on the final drive throwing a few good passes to get his team into field goal range. For USC, it was very similar to last week’s game against Minnesota. USC’s offense could not put any points on the board in the 4th quarter. It’s really ironic that after the year they had in 2010 when there defense kept losing games for the team, it is now the USC offense that has twice flirted with disaster due to its inability to put points on the board. USC has a ton of fire power on offense including QB Matt Barkley, RB Marc Tyler, WR Robert Woods, WR Marquise Lee, and TE Xavier Gamble. They need to find ways to put points on the board, particularly in the second half of games. This is something that scouts have been worried about with Barkley as his stats in the 4th quarter of games are much worse compared to his stats in the first 3 quarters.

Nevertheless, USC has to be somewhat encouraged by this performance. Despite nearly giving the game away, they have to be thrilled that their defense has now saved the day in both of their games. The first game was saved when USC intercepted a pass on the game winning drive. This game ended when USC blocked the game winning field goal. As for Utah, despite the loss, there is a lot that they can take from this game. If they needed any confirmation that they belonged in the Pac-12, they got it with tonight’s gritty performance. They are a well coached team and should be in contention for the Pac-12 South for many years to come.

Full recap of the Pac 12 games is still to come.