The USC Trojans enter a hostile environment as a program desperate for a top 25 win to legitimize themselves as the top team in the loaded Pac-12 South standings. In a battle of two of the Pac-12's best rushers, Buck Allen and Devontae Booker, the running attacks will be largely featured on Saturday night.
Expect the MUSS to be fully loaded, and the Trojans' road mentality will have to be focused and determined to play well right from the start. USC has some impressive road wins already, beating both Stanford and Arizona when they were both in the top 10, but have to avoid the possible letdown that cost them against a run-heavy Boston College squad.
After dismantling the Colorado Buffaloes, led a record-setting seven touchdown performance from Cody Kessler, the USC offense heads into Utah focused on pass protection. The Utes get after the quarterbacks like no other and can provide tremendous pressure by rushing just four or five guys per play.
Travis Wilson, who has almost 4,000 passing yards with 30 touchdown throws in his career, and Oklahoma transfer Kendal Thompson share time and have helped the Utes to rank 21st nationally in scoring offense. This rotation of quarterbacks give the Utes a variety of threats across the board to balance one of the conferences top running games.
Time/TV: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. PT, Fox Sports 1 (Gus Johnson, Charles Davis, Molly McGrath)
Where: Rice-Eccels Stadium, Salt Lake City
Betting Line: Even
Radio: KSPN/710 (Pete Arbogast, John Jackson, Jordan Moore)
Records: USC 5-2 (4-1 Pac-12); Utah 5-1 (2-1 Pac-12)
Series: USC leads, 9-3
Last meeting: USC won, 19-3, as Andre Heidari set a personal record for FG-made (4)