USC came down to earth last week as Caleb Williams showed he was mortal in a 48-20 thrashing at the hands of the Fighting Irish. Utah kept rolling last week with another easy win even though starting Quarterback Cam Rising is still out. Utah has made up for its loss with a suffocating defense that allows yards sparingly.
USC Trojans are eager to get back in play. After being unbeaten after five games, USC was exposed on the road last week against #18 Notre Dame as three-point dogs, losing 49-20. Although this loss will likely hurt their playoff rankings but not conference title aspirations: USC remain undefeated in the PAC 12 with three straight victories, including an overtime home win against Arizona earlier this month (43-31) as well as a 56-10 win against Stanford (their best win) covering spread once per conference game; as a result of which USC fell from #18 into #18 of AP Top 25 rankings.
Caleb Williams wasn’t at his best against Notre Dame, accumulating only 199 passing yards, tossing three interceptions en route to an 8-10 win, and recording 2021 passing yards with 23:4 touchdown/INT ratio in seven games this season. But this won’t prevent the junior quarterback from being chosen first overall in the NFL draft if things pan out as anticipated; three out of his seven games this year reached 300+ passing yards total, and his 23:4 touchdown-to-INT ratio has already earned him consideration as well.
Utah Utes are trying to win their third conference game this season. Starting 4-0 and with victories over Florida and UCLA as highlights, Utah dropped just one road decision against #19 Oregon State 21-7 in late September; rebounded with an emphatic 34-14 home win against California last week to become 2-1 in conference play with covering at one game this season.
Cameron Rising, Utah’s No.1 quarterback, has yet to play due to injury; Bryson Barnes started against California and amassed 128 passing yards for Utah against California with a 2/1 TD/INT ratio. Utah also features freshman Nate Johnson, who has recorded 499 passing yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions so far this season.
Utah will rely heavily on three running backs: Ja’Quinden Jackson led Utah with 94 rushing yards last week and is currently leading their squad with an average of 5.5 yards per rush for 333 total rushing yards. Jaylon Glover leads presently in terms of total rushing yards with 245. At the same time, Mikey Mathews caught five passes against California for 53 total receiving yards, giving Utah an overall total of 202 receiving yards and an average of only 322 per game so far in conference play.
I look for this to be a close game, and Utah’s defense gives them a legit shot at winning. Either way, the +7 is to good to pass up; take Utah and the points!
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