Finally back at the friendly confines of Rice-Eccles Stadium for the 5-1 Utes. Utah is now 1 win away from reaching the 6 win mark, which was a goal for many fans before the season. If the Utes can get that 6th win out of the way ASAP, then they may really start to play loose and make some noise. It's not going to come easy, though, with the No. 20 ranked USC Trojans coming into town.
Utah is 0-3 against the Trojans since joining the league, but has been competitive in all three games. Utah jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead against the Matt Barkley led USC team in 2012 at Rice-Eccles Stadium, in front of an electric cloud. Utah has been yet to face USC with a truly healthy QB, and will be doing that with Travis Wilson Saturday night.
USC is coming off of a massive 56-28 win over Colorado at the Coliseum last week. The game was highlighted by Cody Kessler's 7 touchdown passes, a USC school record. Kessler tallied all 7 touchdowns before the 4th quarter started. Javorius "Buck" Allen and Justin Davis both rushed for over 100 yards in the blowout win as well.
Offensively, the Trojans are led by the rushing efforts of Buck Allen and the immensely skilled wide receiver Nelson Agholor. The previously mentioned Cody Kessler is more of a game manager of a QB, and won't wow you with his skills like a typical USC QB, but he's very efficient and puts the Trojans into position to win games. The biggest question for USC is their young offensive line. They are rotating three freshmen, and a sophomore, so they are very inexperienced, this bodes well for an aggressive Utah defense.
The Trojan defense is a very solid unit, but have given up some yards in the rush game, most notably Boston College picked up 450 yards on the ground against USC. Utah needs to get after it offensively, to really start to dig into the depth, or lack thereof, of USC. After the studs the Trojans have, they don't have a lot else.
Another week, another big Pac-12 game for Utah. The first objective of the season is to get to 6 wins. If Utah can do that in game 7 against USC, that will be a massive weight off their backs. If they can get that weight off their backs, then they can start to focus on much more than just a regular bowl.