Southern California (1-2) at Utah (3-0)
When: Friday, September 23rd 2016
Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: FOX Sports 1
The Southern California Trojans are already off to their worst start since Pete Carroll’s first season with the Trojans 15 years ago and the schedule does not get any easier. Friday’s game at the Utah Utes will be a rematch of last year’s game in Los Angeles when Trojans head coach Clay Helton made his debut. He was name permanent coach later in the season, but has gone 1-4 since. Helton has replaced starting quarterback Max Browne, a junior, with freshman Sam Darnold after the 1-2 start. USC has one of the more experienced offensive lines in the country and one of the most dynamic players around. Adoree’ Jackson is a three-year starter at cornerback and also plays wide receiver and returns punt and kickoffs, putting him in the rare position of scoring touchdowns on a reception, interception return, punt and kickoff return during his career. Jackson limited Alabama sophomore wide receiver Calvin Ridley to two catches for nine yards in the season opener earlier this month.
This will be a huge revenge game for Utah who were 6-0 and ranked seventh in the nation entering L.A. last year before the 42-24 loss to the Trojans. Utah survived the ‘Holy War’ two weeks ago when BYU decided to go for two at the end of the game and failed, giving the Utes a 20-19 victory. Utah is led by quarterback Troy Williams, who is coming off a 20-for-28 performance last weekend against San Jose State, finishing with 257 yards and a touchdown. The Utes didn’t throw a touchdown pass until their third game last season, but already have four in 2016 – all to senior wide receiver Tim Patrick. Utah’s defense is ranked 13th in the country in total yards (263.7 per game) and 10th in points allowed (12.0). The Utes delivered 10 sacks against San Jose with Hunter Dimick leading the way with three.
USC is a mess right now and the Utes are out for revenge. The Utes defense was fantastic last week and look for them to rattle the freshman Darnold of USC. I think Utah will roll in this game behind Williams and a rowdy crowd looking for blood.
Pick: Utah -3