Southern Cal can’t afford another loss if it hopes to get back in the national title hunt as the Trojans visit Utah on Thursday for the first time in 95 years. The Utes are 13.5-point underdogs on WagerWeb.com.
Utah last played Sept. 22, losing 37-7 at Arizona State. Utah followed an impressive win over rival Brigham Young with a dud, falling behind 21-0 in the first quarter and managing 209 total yards — 55 in the second half. John White lost two fumbles and Jon Hays was mostly ineffective in his second game in place of quarterback Jordan Wynn. Hays threw for 117 yards on 10-of-15 passing with an interception. Utah had 92 yards rushing on 38 carries and had nine total yards in the fourth quarter. The loss of Wynn in Week 2 and the emergence of holes in Utah’s defense have derailed Utah’s hopes of a run at the Pac-12 championship.
USC bounced back from a loss to Stanford with a 27-9 win over California on Sept. 22. Matt Barkley passed for 192 yards and threw two touchdown passes to Marqise Lee, who had 11 catches for 94 yards. Silas Redd rushed for 158 yards and a score as the Trojans (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) methodically rolled to their ninth consecutive win over the Golden Bears. USC center Khaled Holmes was back after missing the Stanford game and the offense put up 488 total yards. The Cal offense was only able to gain 250 yards of total offense in the game — 77 rushing and 173 passing.
Utah-USC may be the most anticipated game in school history. The Trojans last visited Salt Lake City in 1917, when they beat the Utes 51-0.
Last year in L.A., Matt Kalil blocked Utah’s 41-yard field goal attempt on the wacky final play and Torin Harris returned it for a touchdown that wasn’t counted until two hours after the game ended in Southern California’s 23-14 victory in the first game in Pac-12 history. Barkley passed for 264 yards and Robert Woods had eight catches for 102 yards.
WagerWeb.com trends: Trojans are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 conference games. Trojans are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win. Trojans are 13-5 ATS in their last 18 games following a bye week. Trojans are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games. Utes are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a S.U. loss. Utes are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game. Utes are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Utes are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games following a bye week.