No. 13 USC Football Plays Thursday Night Game At Utah

    T.J. McDonald

    Sept. 30, 2012

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    October play commences as No. 13 USC makes its first trip to Salt Lake City in 95 years for a Thursday night battle against Utah in sold-out, 45,017-seat Rice-Eccles Stadium (the Utes' 15th straight home sellout). It's only the third time the Trojans have played at Utah (there were long-ago visits in 1915 and 1917) and just the fourth time they've been in the state for a game. USC could tie the school record for consecutive games without being shut out. The Trojans won last year's clash in the Coliseum in the Pac-12's first-ever game and it featured a wild ending. Both teams had byes last weekend. USC regained its winning ways at home against California in its last outing, while Utah suffered a 30-point loss at Arizona State.

    September 10, 2011
    L.A. Coliseum
    USC Blocks Last-Second Field Goal, Wins Inaugural Pac-12 Game 23-14
    Matt Barkley passed for 264 yards, Matt Kalil blocked Utah's 41-yard field goal attempt on the wacky final play, and Southern California held off the Utes 23-14 Saturday night in the first game in Pac-12 history. Marc Tyler rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown in his return from suspension, and Robert Woods had eight catches for 102 yards as the Trojans (2-0, 1-0) opened their new conference schedule with a tenacious defensive performance against their new division rivals. But USC couldn't celebrate until Kalil swatted down Coleman Petersen's final kick after the Utes (1-1, 0-1) drove into field-goal range from their 33 in the final 1:01.

    The Trojans feature a lot of weapons/honors candidates on offense, including QB Matt Barkley, who is on pace to eclipse the Pac-12 career touchdown pass record and USC's passing and total offense career marks, All-American WR Robert Woods (now fourth on Troy's all-time receptions and kickoff return ladders), fellow WR Marqise Lee, who is in the national Top 13 in receptions, receiving yards, all-purpose yards and scoring, and a duo of 2011 1,000-yard runners in TBs Curtis McNeal and Silas Redd (via Penn State).

    The Trojan defense features All-American S T.J. McDonald, CB Nickell Robey, LBs Dion Bailey and Hayes Pullard and sack-happy DE Morgan Breslin, the Pac-12's leader in sacks and tackles for loss.

    Head coach Kyle Whittingham's Utah squad is guided on offense by QB Jon Hays, who has taken over for injured (and now retired) QB Jordan Wynn. RB John White is a dangerous runner, while the Utes' air attack features WRs DeVonte Christopher and Dres Anderson and TE Jake Murphy. Utah's defense, 25th nationally in sacks, is led by 2011 All-Pac-12 first team DT Star Lotulelei, who won the Pac-12's Morris Trophy last season, along with LBs Trevor Reilly and Dave Fagergren. Utah sports one of the nation's top punters in P Sean Shellwood.

    The game will be aired live nationally on ESPN.