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Three Takeaways: USC vs. Utah

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The Trojans traveled to Salt Lake City this past weekend and came back to Los Angeles with an embarrassing loss looming over their heads. Here are a few takeaways from the game.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The USC Trojans hadn’t beaten the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City since 2012. But, after a big against Colorado, the Trojans were confident going into this game. With that confidence the Trojans got out to a quick 14-0 lead but it didn’t last long before the storming Utes took over. It’s hard to find anything that went right for USC, although, there are a couple of things they improved on.

Hits:

Penalties

The USC Trojans are one of the most penalized teams in the entire country, committing 10 or more penalties in multiple games this season. Coming into Rice-Eccles Stadium (a hostile environment), it was expected that the Trojans would continue to have their penalty troubles. Well, they shockingly only committed two penalties for a total of 20 yards. Even though that is an impressive feat for this Trojans team, it had no positive effect on the game whatsoever.

Turnovers

NCAA Football: Southern California at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Another facet of the game the Trojans have struggled with is forcing turnovers. USC had forced just four takeaways before playing Utah. Fortunately, they were able to recover two fumbles on the defensive side of the ball, one of them being returned for a touchdown by Salt Lake City native Jay Tufele. That makes it two games in a row that the Trojans have scored a defensive touchdown. If it wasn’t for these two turnovers, this game would’ve been a lot uglier than this misleading 41-28 loss.

Misses:

Coaching

NCAA Football: Southern California at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the majority of USC fans are wanting replacements throughout their coaching staff, starting with Clay Helton and Tee Martin. Despite the 10-win seasons, Rose Bowl, and Pac-12 Championship that Helton has won, there are fans that have been unsatisfied with him ever since he was hired because these fans knew the Trojans had the talent level to compete for National Championships. Then there were fans that were a little more optimistic and even happy with these accomplishments. But now these same, once-hopeful, fans are starting to realize the inadequacies of this coaching staff.

After disgraceful losses to Stanford, Texas, and now Utah, for some it is crystal clear that the Trojans are in dire need of a competent coaching staff. The Trojan practice with an intensity level that’s almost non-existent. They rarely do tackling drills, they don’t focus enough on strength and conditioning, and the worst part of all is they are not successful in developing their players. This is the most inconsistent the offense has looked in years and it’s all at the fault of the coaches. In some fans’ eyes, it’s time for the Helton and Co. chapter to finish and start fresh.