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USC Football Drops Tight Contest Against No. 13 BYU Despite Late Rally, 35-31

Nov 27, 2021

LOS ANGELES — Jaxson Dart passed for 248 yards with a touchdown and rushed for a score, but it wasn't enough as USC football fell to No. 13 Brigham Young Saturday night in the Trojans' home finale.

USC erased a 15-point lead in the second half but the Cougars denied the Trojans' upset bid on the final possession of the game.

"Ultimately we didn't get the final outcome that we wanted," said USC interim coach Donte Williams. "The kids fought extremely hard tonight. We battled back from mistakes that we made and made it a ballgame up to the last play of the ballgame. We fought hard all night and created turnovers, we ran the ball the way I would like for us to run the ball and controlled at the line of scrimmage."

Dart, a native Utahn, made his second career start of his freshman season.

USC finished with 210 total rushing yards despite missing senior tailback Keaontay Ingram. Vavae Malepeai rushed for 99 yards with a touchdown and Darwin Barlow had 81 yards on 19 touches.

"I'm proud of the guys," said Malepeai, a USC captain who played his final game at the Coliseum on Senior Night. "This was a really emotional game, but I felt like we were able to stay level-headed throughout the calls. As an offense, we fed off of the defensive plays and that gave us momentum coming into a drive."

USC took a quick 3-0 lead to start the game with Parker Lewis' 26-yard-field goal, but BYU answered with two touchdowns in the first quarter to take control of the game.

The Trojans reopened their scoring when Dart fumbled a snap on the Cougars' 6-yard line but powered his way into the endzone on the keeper.

BYU scored again on a five-yard rush. Following Kana'i Mauga's interception, Lewis nailed a 33-yard field goal as the first half expired to keep USC's deficit within two scores.

Down 28-13, the Trojans roared back into the game with three consecutive scores. Malepeai ran for a 2-yard touchdown followed by a 37-yard field goal by Lewis.

USC went back on top of the scoreboard when Dart led a 12-play, 91-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Gary Bryant Jr., followed by a pass to Lake McRee to convert the two-point conversion.

The Trojans appeared they were going to run away with the game after Calen Bullock snagged his fourth interception in three games, but USC's offense stalled on a three-and-out on the next possession.

BYU capitalized and scored its fifth touchdown to take the lead for good with 2:22 left in the game. On the Trojans' final possession, Dart threw a 5-yard pass to Bryant on 4th-and-6th but was marked short.

USC, which will not have bowl eligibility this season, will conclude its 2021 campaign with its rescheduled away game at California on Dec. 4.

"The future's bright here, and I'm definitely happy by the way that we continued to fight," Williams said. "That's what you're gonna do a USC, 'Fight On' no matter the circumstances."