Salem, Utah native and USC Trojans senior outside linebacker Porter Gustin will miss the rest of his senior season with a fractured ankle. He injured it in the fourth quarter in USC’s 31-20 win over the Colorado Buffaloes Saturday night. USC head coach Clay Helton announced the news today and that Gustin would have surgery and try to recover for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Gustin played in just four games last season due to injuries. He had a career-high seven sacks this year in six games, which is currently the most of any player in the Pac-12. He was USC’s top pass rusher this year with his strong play and after losses of players like Rasheem Green and Uchenna Nwosu to the NFL off last year’s team. This is a blow to the USC defense.
This news is especially pertinent to the Utah Utes, Gustin’s home state team, who face USC on Saturday. The winner between the Utes and the Trojans will be the midseason favorite to win the Pac-12 South. The Utes offense struggled to start the season, but they have rattled off 82 points in their last two games and scored 40+ points in back-to-back Pac-12 games for only the second time (the last time coming in 2012 when Utah scored 49 points against the California Golden Bears and Washington State Cougars). The resurgent Utah offense will take on a USC defense coming off an impressive performance against Colorado, but they will be without their top pass rusher. The game at Rice-Eccles Stadium will be worth watching Saturday night, will the Utah offense score 40 points in their third straight Pac-12 game, a feat they have never accomplished, or will USC slow down Utah, despite missing Gustin?