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Looking Back at Utah-USC Football Games

Utah v USC Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Utah is 4-10 all-time against USC, last defeating the Trojans in Salt Lake City in 2014, Utah’s only win over USC as a member of the Pac-12. Prior to joining the Pac-12, Utah only faced USC twice since the 1940s. Utah also defeated USC in the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl in former head coach Pete Carroll’s first season at USC (the other two wins came in 1915 and 1916). In last year’s meeting in Los Angeles, Utah came in undefeated and ranked No. 3, but USC came away with the 42-24 victory. In this article, we will look back at all of the games between the Utes and Trojans since the Utes joined the Pac-12. The games have all been exciting, with several coming down to the final play

2011: Utah at USC - USC win 23-14

In the first ever Pac-12 game, the Utes traveled to the Coliseum to take on the Trojans. USC jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Utah battled back, capitalizing on a USC fumbling and driving 88 yards on 12 plays to score a touchdown with only 34 seconds left before halftime. USC scored again in the third quarter to take a 17-7 lead, but the Utes again were able to score, bring the game within three points. Utah had a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime, but Coleman Petersen’s 41-yard field goal attempt was blocked by USC left take Matt Khalil and returned 68 yards for a touchdown by Torin Harris. The score though did not count for the Trojans until several hours after the game due to some confusion about an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the touchdown. The touchdown ultimately ended up counting giving USC the 23-14 win.

2012: No. 13 USC at Utah - USC win 38-28

Before the season started, many felt this game would decide the Pac-12 South. USC was the preseason No. 1 team, and Utah was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 South and was seen as a dark horse. However, the match up lost a lot of its luster when USC fell to Stanford and Utah fell to Utah State and Arizona State. The game could not have started off better for the Utes. Two turnovers on USC’s first two possessions led to two Utah touchdowns and a 14-0 lead in the first three minutes. USC would battle back behind a good game from quarterback Matt Barkley and Biletnikoff Award winning wide receiver Marqise Lee, outscoring Utah 38-14 the rest of the game, cruising to a 10-point win in Salt Lake City.

2013: Utah at USC - USC win 19-3

Utah took a 3-0 lead in this game and was in position to score several other times in the game, but they could not capitalize. This game felt like one Utah could have won with the USC program reeling after the firing of former head coach Lane Kiffin. USC scored the only touchdown in the game in the first quarter, and the game was primarily a defensive struggle for most of the game, especially the second half. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson was hampered in the game due to an injury to his throwing hand.

2014: No. 20 USC at No. 19 Utah - Utah win 24-21

This is Utah’s only win over USC since joining the Pac-12, and it got the Utes bowl eligible in 2014. It has been the only time the two teams have both been ranked when they have squared off since the start of the Pac-12. This was a back and forth game that Utah had to win on the final drive of the game. Like this year’s game, it was the “Blackout” game for Utah in 2014. Utah scored first on a 53-yard fumble return for a touchdown. USC answered though on their ensuing drive. Utah drive all the way to the USC one-yard line, but running back Devontae Booker fumbled, the first of two fumbles the Utes would lose at the USC one-yard line. Utah would get a field goal in the second quarter to take a short-lived 10-7 lead. The lead was gone however when Adoree Jackson took the kickoff back 100 yards for a touchdown, giving USC a 14-10 lead that the Trojans would take into halftime. The score did not change until nearly the end of the third quarter when Booker ran for a touchdown, giving Utah the 17-14 lead. USC again scored to take the lead 21-17. Utah though would drive the length of the field at the end of the game, with Wilson finding wide receiver Kaelin Clay for the one-yard game winning touchdown pass.

2015: No. 3 Utah at USC - USC win 42-24

Utah came into this game undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the country, but they were underdogs on the road to the unranked Trojans. USC struck first, but Utah would score twice, leading 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. Wilson though would be intercepted twice in the second quarter by USC linebacker Cameron Smith, which led to two USC touchdowns (with one being a pick-six). The Trojans would also get a third touchdown in the second quarter as well. Utah would add a field goal to close out the half, but the Utes were down 28-17 at halftime. The second half did not go better for the Utes, with Wilson being picked two more times (once more by Smith to give him three interceptions in the game), and Utah would fall for the first time in the 2015 season 42-24. This game also proved to be the tiebreaker that sent USC to the Pac-12 Championship Game over Utah.