The Utah Utes (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) lost a heart breaker to the No. 13 USC Trojans (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12) 28-27 in the L. A. Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, Calif. The Utes had a 21-7 hafltime lead on the Trojans and had forced three turnovers, including one scoop and score. Utah forced three fumbles on USC quarterback Sam Darnold, but for the first time in 2017, Darnold did not throw an interception in a game.
The Utes jumped out to a 7-0 lead when Marquise Blair returned a fumble 18 yards for a touchdown. This play immediately followed a Troy Williams interception in the red zone. USC answered on the very next drive with a 52-yard touchdown pass from Darnold to Tyler Petite. On their next drive, Utah would get to the USC 13 yard line before their drive stalled, and normally automatic kicker Matt Gay missed the 33-yard field goal attempt, making Utah 0-for-2 in the red zone on their first two trips. Utah would ultimately find the end zone two more times before halftime, on a five-yard pass from wide receiver Demari Simpkins to Williams, and a 33-yard pass from Williams to Simpkins. The Utes looked in complete control up 14 at halftime.
However, the Utah defense would begin to break in the second half, allowing USC to score 21 unanswered points on drives of 98, 88, and 93 yards. Utah gave up multiple third and fourth down conversions to USC on those three long drives. The one that hurt the most might have been when Darnold converted a fourth and nine with an off balance, inaccurate throw that somehow was complete and got the necessary yardage.
The Utes were down 28-21, but they managed to drive 75 yards to score a touchdown on a Williams run. Utah, down one, with only 0:43 left in the game, opted to go for the win rather than overtime. Utah was stopped when Williams was tackled short. Wide receiver Darren Carrington II was wide open in the back of the end zone, but Williams did not see him. USC would recover the ensuing onside kick and win the game 28-27.
Running back Zack Moss made the offense go all night. He finished the game with 20 carries for a career-high 141 yards rushing. He also caught three passes for 26 yards. Moss refused to go down easily and trucked USC linebacker Cameron Smith. Williams was 16-of-27 for 262 yards with one touchdown and one interception.