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USC Football Battles Utah On Saturday In Trojan Family Weekend Game

Oct 3, 2021


*USC returns home to the Coliseum to host a rested Utah team under the lights on FOX, with the Pac12's "The Pregame" show airing from the field before the game and Trojan Heisman winner Carson Palmer honored during the game for his College Football Hall of Fame induction.

*USC will be looking to string together back-to-back victories for the first time in 2021, which would break its early pattern of following a win with a loss.

*USC has lost just once in 10 Los Angeles contests with Utah and that defeat came in the first L.A. meeting more than a 100 years ago.

*The game is part of Trojan Family Weekend.

*After the game against the Utes, USC has a bye before heading to Notre Dame.

*The Trojans — under interim head coach Donte Williams — posted a convincing bounce-back victory at Colorado last week, exhibiting a balanced and big-play offense and a stingy defense. TB Keaontay Ingram became USC's first 100-yard rusher of 2021 as Troy compiled more than 200 ground yards. All-American candidate and Biletnikoff Award nominee WR Drake London, second nationally in receptions and receiving yards, continues to be unstoppable. QB Kedon Slovis threw 3 TDs, including a long one to breakout freshman WR Michael Trigg. OLB Drake Jackson was a menace on defense, with a pair of sacks, a fumble recovery (off a strip sack by DL Tuli Tuipulotu) and a pass deflection. PK Parker Lewis remains perfect on field goals (including a career-long 49-yarder last week) and PATs and his booming kickoffs are mainly touchbacks, while P Ben Griffiths is in the nation's Top 25 in punts. USC has scored every time it has been in the red zone this season, while the defense has come up with 2 takeaways per game.

*Utah, coming off a bye following a win over Washington State in its league opener, is led by head coach Kyle Whittingham, the dean of Pac-12 coaches. QB Cameron Rising is now directing the Ute offense. His top receivers include TE Brant Kuithe and WRs Solomon Enis and all-purpose star Britain Covey, a 2020 All-Pac-12 first team choice as a return specialist who leads the nation in punt returns. The top ground gainers are RBs Micah Bernard, Tavion Thomas and T.J. Pledger. OL Nick Ford made the 2021 All-Pac-12 first team. Utah's defense, which is 13th nationally in pass defense, is led by LB Devin Lloyd, a 2020 AllPac-12 first teamer who is second nationally in tackles. Other top tacklers are S Brandon McKinney, LB Nephi Sewell and CB Clark Phillips.

*The schools also meet at USC in women's volleyball and soccer on Friday and Sunday, respectively.


*USC and Utah are not ranked in the current AP sports media and USA Today coaches polls.


*USC holds a 13-6 record over Utah, including 9-1 in Los Angeles (with wins in the past 9 L.A. meetings). Since Utah joined the Pac-12, Troy is 6-3 versus the Utes.

*In 2019 in the most recent meeting in Los Angeles, QB Matt Fink — who came off the bench when starting QB Kedon Slovis was knocked out of the game after the second play — threw for 351 yards with 3 TDs and WR Michael Pittman Jr. caught 10 throws for 232 yards and a long score to lead USC to a 30-23 victory over No. 10 Utah on a Friday night. It was Utah's ninth straight loss in the Coliseum. USC scored more points than the Utes had allowed in their first 3 games combined.

*Last year in Salt Lake City, No. 20 USC — behind a defense that had 5 takeaways and shut out the Utes in the second half — notched its first win at Utah since 2012 with a 33-17 victory on a night so cold (mid-to-lower 30s) in Salt Lake City that ESPN's telecast was knocked off the air for a few minutes in the third quarter. The 8:30 p.m. kickoff was USC's latest in 65 years. PK Parker Lewis nailed 4 field goals for USC.


*USC has won 70.0% (481-198-29) of its games against current Pac-12 opponents (not including 9 wins later vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 490-198-29, 70.4%).


*USC has a 312-122-19 (.710) all-time record while playing in the month of October (not including 5 wins vacated due to NCAA penalty; revised record: 317-122-19, .713).


*USC has a 453-143-27 (.749) all-time record in the Coliseum since the stadium opened in 1923 (not including 6 wins vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 459-143-27, .751). USC's 629 games played in the Coliseum (including the 6 vacated wins) is the third most that any school has played in its home stadium (behind Georgia Tech's 711 in Bobby Dodd Stadium and Tennessee's 631 in Neyland Stadium).


*USC is 182-70-4 (.719) at night, including 107-33-4 in the Coliseum, 60-29 on the road and 15-8 at neutral sites. (Does not include 5 wins and 1 loss vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 187-71-4, .721 overall, 110-33-4 in the Coliseum, 17-9 at neutral sites, USC had a school-record 32-game win streak at home at night from 1997 to 2010.)


*Besides its 13-6 mark versus Utah, USC is 6-0 against Utah State and 2-1 versus BYU.


*USC has 2 players from Utah (QB Jaxson Dart of Corner Canyon HS and ILB Tayler Katoa of Layton HS), while Utah has 30 Californians on its roster.

*ILB Tayler Katoa's sister, Eliza, was a outside hitter on the Utes' women's volleyball team (2014-16) and also played on the Utes' beach volleyball team in 2017.

*QB Jaxson Dart's father, Brandon, was a safety at Utah (1994-96, 1999-2000).

*Graduate assistant coach Toa Lobendahn's father, Vince, was a lineman at Utah (1990-93) and also w as a graduate assistant coach at BYU (1998-99).

*ILB Solomon Tuliaupupu's father, Turnbull, was an offensive lineman at Southern Utah (2000-01) and Solomon spent part of his youth in Utah.

*Defensive quality control analyst Brett Arce's father was an assistant basketball coach at Utah State.

*Utah WR Munir McClain was on USC's team in 2019 and 2020.

*Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham is related by marriage to former USC OLB-S Su'a Cravens (2013-15), who is now part of the Trojans' radio broadcast team.

*Utah men's basketball assistant coach DeMarlo Slocum was the director of operations for the USC men's basketball team in 2005 and 2006.