19.7 C
New York

Utah Injects Twist Into Playoff Race by Downing U.S.C. for Pac-12 Title


In his 18th season, Whittingham has built a program in his own image — a simple former linebacker and coach’s son who shepherded the Utes from scrappy Mountain West overachiever to back-to-back Rose Bowl berths. His program is brief on frills, routinely developing evenly regarded recruits into pros and preaching mental and physical toughness.

The contrast with the Trojans was hard to miss on Friday night.

The Trojans bolted to a 14-3 lead — and were primed to squeeze Utah. But U.S.C. squandered two opportunities: settling for a field goal after being arrange with first-and-goal on the Utah 3, and turning the ball over on downs after recovering a fumble on the Utah 39.

The Utes evened the rating at halftime when Cameron Rising, the championship game M.V.P. threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Dixon with two seconds left within the half. Given the reprieve, the Utes pounded the Trojans within the second half. Ja’Quinden Jackson and Micah Bernard, the running backs, weren’t the one ones bulling their way through arm tackles.

Receiver Money Parks shrugged off Latrell McCutchin’s tackle attempt and bolted 53 yards for a touchdown that put the Utes ahead for good. And after the Trojans had closed inside 27-24, tight end Thomas Yassmin, an Australian former rugby player, sloughed off safety Calen Bullock’s attempted strip to complete off a 60-yard touchdown catch and run.

“At end of the sport, we panicked somewhat bit,” said Riley, whose team allowed over 500 yards for the second time against Utah. “We got way too focused on attempting to make big plays and strip the ball as a substitute of attempting to get them on the bottom.”

It was the form of shoddy tackling that the Trojans have overcome just about all season, because of a plus-23 turnover margin — by far one of the best within the Football Bowl Subdivision — and the wizardry of Williams.

But on Friday night, Williams popped a hamstring on a 58-yard run on the Trojans’ second touchdown drive. It took the Utes some time to note that he was starting to hobble and refrain from scrambling. Just about all night, they sent five rushers toward Williams, sacking him seven times and belting him many others.

Get the latest Sports Updates (Soccer, NBA, NFL, Hockey, Racing, etc.) and Breaking News From the United States, United Kingdom, and all around the world.

Related articles


Recent articles