Final Utah Possession
Facing a 3rd and 9, Bear Alexander is called for a targeting penalty. The ball is moved to the 49-yard line and Bear is ejected from the game.
Utah moves the ball to the USC 40-yard line after converting a 4th and 1.
Bryon Barnes scrambles for 26 yards setting up the game-winning field goal.
USC loses 34-32
3:03 Left – Utah Ball
Alright here it is folks, this is the game. 2:11 left in the game and Utah is facing a 3rd and 5.
Trojans hold! Bear Alexander comes screaming up the middle forcing an inaccurate throw.
On the ensuing punt, Zacharia Branch returns the punt 61 yards to the 11-yard line.
On the first play of the drive, Caleb Williams keeps it and takes it in for the score! The two-point attempt fails.
USC takes the lead 32-31.
8:24 Left In The Game – USC Ball
In what was probably the Trojans best offensive series of the game, Caleb Williams led the offense down the field but sticking with the theme, things got weird and the drive stalled. On 3rd down, Williams pump-faked and the ball fell out of his hand. He recovered the ball but lost 11 yards on the play setting up a 4th and 15. USC settled for a Field Goal.
Utah leads 31-26 with 3:03 left and is set to receive the kickoff.
Start Of The 4th Quarter – Utah Leads 28-17
Facing a 3rd and 10, a stop that USC absolutely had to have, Calen Bullock does one better and takes an interception into the end zone. We have a ball game!
SC missed the 2-point attempt.
After pinning Utah deep on the kickoff, the Utes hit a big pass play right off the bat and then moved the ball into the red zone. SC is able to make a stand and hold Utah to a field goal.
Still not what you want to see. With all the momentum, and Utah pinned deep, USC had to get a quick stop there and get the ball back to the offense.
Now the lead is eight with 8:24 left in the game.
USC Ball With 7:25 Left In The 3rd Quarter
After an incomplete pass on 1st down, Caleb Williams scrambles for a first down to move the chains. On the next play, Marshawn Lloyd fumbles giving the ball back to Utah at the 45-yard line.
The USC defense DESPERATELY needed a 3 and out on this drive. But on 3rd down, the Utes cleared everyone out and Barnes scrambled up the middle for an easy 1st down. They score 2 plays later.
Utah now leads 28-14.
We knew this USC team was going to be led by their offense. The hope was that the defensive unit had improved slightly to give a greater margin for error. Through 7 and a half games, not only is the defense not improved, but the offense has regressed MIGHTILY.— Ryan Dyrud (@RyanDyrudLAFB) October 22, 2023
This has been a very strange drive. On a critical 3rd down, SC was able to convert on a Williams pass to Rice. Then, finally, an explosive play as Williams found Washington for a 40-yard connection.
Then things got a little weird. Every time SC substituted an offensive player, Utah would instill an EXTREMELY late substitution of their own, slowing the offense down (road defense always gets the final substitution so the offense is forced to wait). It seemed to kill any momentum the offense had begun to gather.
The drive stalled, but SC was able to put three points on the board, cutting the lead to 28-17.
Start Of The 2nd Half. USC Ball.
USC goes 3 and out after Caleb Williams takes his first sack of the game on 3rd down. Had plenty of time, just couldn’t find anyone open. Not what anyone was hoping to see from the offense after the break.
Utah gets the ball at their own 46-yard line.
Utah just imposing their will on this drive. Plays of 9, 6, 22, etc. Just all positive plays and USC can do nothing to stop them. Facing 2nd and goal from the 3-yard line.
Utah would have had to face 3rd and goal, but a personal foul penalty gave them half the distance and a fresh set of downs.
The Trojans stuff the run on 1st down. Utah gets a false start penalty on the next play setting up a 2nd and goal from the 6. Barnes scrambles to the right and finds Landen King for 6. Utah went 59 yards in 9 plays and retake the lead 21-14.
The USC offense has to get going. After scoring on their first two possessions, they have not done much of anything. Marshawn Lloyd needs to touch the ball early and often, and Caleb needs to get in a rhythm.
Halftime. We Are All Tied Up At 14. SC Gets the Ball Out Of The Break.
2nd Quarter Start: 14-14 Score
Utah ball after the punt. The offense is able to gain a first down after a 3rd down completion. On the next play, SC gets their first SACK of the game and it could not have come at a better time. The defense needed some momentum in a bad way. Romello Height is credited with the sack for 12 yards. They are able to gobble up Jackson, the ball carrier, for a loss of 2 yards forcing a 3rd and long. The defense holds, giving Caleb Williams and the offense the ball back.
On the 2nd play from scrimmage, Caleb Williams hits Brenden Rice for a nice outside route that goes for 11 yards and a first down. The offense stalls after that, and punts the ball away to Utah.
Utah ball on their own 20-yard line. 9:59 left in the 2nd quarter.
After a 36-yard gain on what seemed to be a harmless crossing route, 15 yards are tacked on after SC commits a personal foul. Utah moving the ball into the red zone.
Facing a 4th down and 1 yard to go at the USC 20-yard line, Utah elects to go for it and is STOPPED. SC Ball.
I will never understand why teams go empty from the gun when facing a 4th and 1. SC stops Utah and gets the ball back.— Ryan Dyrud (@RyanDyrudLAFB) October 22, 2023
After a nice 31-yard pass from Caleb Williams to Lake McRee, the drive stalls. A negative play and penalty make it 3rd and long and the Trojans are unable to convert. Ball goes back to Utah with plenty of time before the half.
Very odd drive there from Utah. They are able to quickly move the ball across the 50-yard line, but then a fumble and a personal foul penalty move them all the way back to a 3rd and very long.
Utah punting, and USC will get the ball back with a little over a minute and one timeout.
Caleb and the offense begin the drive at the 10-yard line. Let’s see how aggressive Riley wants to get.
SC is able to earn two first downs, but after a missed DPI on a deep shot to Tahj Washington, they run out of time.
Halftime. All tied up at 14.
11:42 Left In The 1st Quarter: 7-7
After a good first down run, the USC defense stops the ball carrier for a minimal gain, leading to a 3rd down. A snap infraction by Utah pushes the drive back forcing a 3rd and 9. Barnes’ pass is a little short of the sticks but is dropped. USC rebounds forcing a 3 and out.
Exhale. SC ball at their own 16-yard line.
The USC offense is coming to life. The running game looks really effective and the offensive line has played great against this front so far. After tremendous protection, Caleb Williams was able to hit Tahj Washington for a 51-yard pitch and catch down to the 2-yard line. Lincoln Riley then draws up a BEAUTIFUL play design that ends up as a toss to Zachariah Branch where he walks into the end zone for six.
WOW. What a play design! Beautiful play-action pitch to Zachariah Branch for the touchdown. SC in front 14-7.— Ryan Dyrud (@RyanDyrudLAFB) October 22, 2023
USC in front 14-7.
It looked as if USC was going to force another 3 and out, but Utah went for it on 4th and 3 and converted after gaining 9 yards.
Utah then marches right down the field, pretty much all on the ground, and ties the game at 14.
The SC defense is going to have to make some adjustments, Utah is having their way on the ground.
Against Cal last week, Utah had 317 yards on the ground. With 1:54 left in the first quarter, they are at 66 against #USC.— Ryan Dyrud (@RyanDyrudLAFB) October 22, 2023
On the Trojans next offensive possession, they go 3 and out. Utah will have the ball at the start of the 2nd quarter with a chance to take the lead back.
USC wins the toss and elects to defer to the 2nd half. We will get a look at the USC defense first.
Utah starts the game with back-to-back runs. The first to the outside for 13 yards, and then 2nd up the middle for 9. And on the 3rd play, it’s Barnes to Sione Vaki for a 53-yard touchdown. More of the same from the Trojans defense. 3 plays, 75 yards, and Utah leads 7-0. About as bad as a start as you could have for USC.
USC ball now.
Austin Jones with a great run up the middle to start the drive off for 11 yards. Two plays later, SC faced third and short. Caleb Williams had all kinds of time in the pocket, ultimately scrambling for a first down. On the very next play, Marshawn Lloyd breaks through the left side of the line for a 45-yard touchdown run.
A huge sigh of relief in the Coliseum as USC ties it up 7-7.
USC offense responds beautifully. A couple of nice runs from Jones and Caleb Williams leading to a Marshawn Lloyd 45-yard touchdown run.— Ryan Dyrud (@RyanDyrudLAFB) October 22, 2023
A sigh of relief in the Coli.
Now let’s see if the defense can shore things up.
Welcome to the USC vs Utah Live Blog! We will have live in-game updates for you directly from the LA Coliseum.
There are plenty of questions about this team, and we will hopefully have the answers in just under two hours.
Before the game kicks off, you can watch our full Salute To Troy preview show below!
See you at kickoff. Fight On.