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No. 7 USC Football Heads To No. 20 Utah For Crucial Pac-12 Battle

Oct 10, 2022

SLC BOUND

*After 2 weeks at home, the Trojans are traveling to Salt Lake City to take on the reigning Pac-12 Champions, the Utah Utes.

*Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. MT and the game will be broadcast nationally on FOX.

*USC dropped one place in the AP Poll to No. 7. But the Trojans are ranked 6th in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

*This is the first time in the 2022 season that the Trojan will challenge a ranked opponent.

WASHINGTON STATE GAME RECAP

*USC RB Travis Dye rushed for a season-best 149 yards on a season-high 28 carries and scored 1 TD in USC's 30-14 victory over Washington State in the Coliseum.

*He has now scored a rushing TD in 5 consecutive games.

*Dye's 28 carries were the most rushing attempts in a game by a Trojan since Ronald Jones II had 30 versus Stanford on Dec. 1, 2017 in the Pac-12 Championship game, that was won by USC 36- 21.

*It was Dye's fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season and 11th of his career.

*Dye is currently ranked No. 16 in the nation (No. 2 in the Pac-12 Conference) in total rushing yards with 571 on the season. He is also No. 20 in the nation (No. 3 in the Pac-12 Conference) in rushing yards per game at 95.2, No. 23 in the nation (No. 4 in the Pac-12 Conference) in rush yards per carry at 6.34 and No. 24 in the nation (No. 3 in the Pac-12 Conference) in rushing TDs with 6.

*USC is 6-0 to start the season for the first time since starting 6-0 in the 2006 season. That team finished 11-2 overall, with a Pac-10 co-championship, a win over Michigan in the Rose Bowl and a No. 4 final AP ranking. The last USC team to win more games to start a season was the 2005 Trojans which went 12-0 in the regular season before falling to Texas in the Rose Bowl.

*USC is one of the 15 remaining undefeated teams this season.

*USC scored 30 points against Washington State. The Cougars had held 4 of its first 5 opponents to just 17 points or less. USC has now scored 27 points or more in each of its last 6 games against the Cougars.

*USC has won 5 of its first 6 games by 10 points or more. The last time USC won more games in a season by 10 or more points was the 2017 season (7 games won by 10 or more points).

*USC scored the only points in the third quarter, a 24-yard pass from Caleb Williams to Mario Williams. USC has now outscored the opposition 62-7 in the third quarter this season.

*QB Caleb Williams went 15-of-29 (.517) for 188 yards and 2 TDs.

*WR Mario Williams led the Trojans with 4 receptions for 82 yards and 2 TDs. Williams now has 4 TDs on the season, ranking No. 5 in the Pac-12 Conference in receiving TDs.

*WR Brenden Rice had a productive night for USC with 3 receptions for 38 yards.

*The USC defense, led by the defensive line, had an impressive performance holding the Cougars to 14 points. The 14 points scored were a season-low for Washington State, and its fewest since scoring 13 in a 24-13 loss at Utah on Sept. 25, 2021.

*DL Tuli Tuipulotu was dominant at the line of scrimmage and tallied 5 tackles with 4.0 for loss (for 18 yards) and 3.0 sacks (for 17 yards). He had 2 sacks in 3 plays during the first quarter.

*Tuipulotu fell one short of tying the school record of 4 sacks in a game done 4 times (Marcus Cotton against Oregon State in 1987, Junior Seau against Oregon State in 1989, Tim Ryan against UCLA in 1989 and Lawrence Jackson against Arizona State in 2007).

*Tuipulotu now leads the nation in sacks with 1.17 per game and is tied for No. 1 in the nation in tackles for loss with 2.1 per game.

*This was the fifth consecutive game in which Tuipulotu had at least 1 tackle for loss, and he now has 12.5 tackles for loss on the season.

*USC had 5 sacks today, matching a season high, which it's done 4 times. The last time USC had 4 games of at least 5 sacks in one season was in 2017 (also 4 times).

*In addition to Tuipulotu, DL Nick Figueroa tallied 2.0 sacks (for 10 yards).

*ILB Ralen Goforth stepped in for an injured ILB Shane Lee and led the team with 8 tackles.

*DL Tyrone Taleni, DL Solomon Byrd and DB Jaylin Smith each recorded a TFL.

*USC held Washington State scoreless in the first quarter (10-0), the third time in six games it held the opponent scoreless in the first quarter. USC has outscored its opposition 66-21 in the first quarter this season.

*USC did not commit a turnover for the fifth time in six games. USC is tied with San Jose State as the only two teams in the nation with just one turnover during the 2022 season.

*PK Denis Lynch went 3-for-3 in field goal attempts (for 31 yards, 27 yards and 31 yards) in USC's 30-14 victory over Washington State. He was also perfect in all 3 of his PATs.

*Lynch has made all 31 of his PATs this season.

*Lynch is currently No. 11 in the nation (No. 1 in the Pac-12 Conference) in total points scored with 55 points. He is also ranked No. 20 nationally (No. 1 in the Pac-12 Conference) in scoring at 9.2 points per game.

*P Aadyn Sleep-Dalton recorded 5 punts for 225 yards, with an average of 45.0 and a long of 49 yards.

UTAH SCOUTING REPORT

*The Utah Utes are 4-2 overall and 2-1 in Pac-12 Conference play.

*Previously ranked No. 11, the Utes were upset by the No. 18 UCLA Bruins 42-32 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

*QB Cam Rising went 23-of-32 for 287 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT, and added 59 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs.

*RB Tavion Thomas led the Utes in rushing with 18 carries for 91 yards and a TD.

*WR Devaughn Vele tallied a team-high 6 catches for 87 yards and TE Dalton Kincaid had 4 receptions for 67 yards.

*Defensively, S R.J. Hubert recorded 11 tackles with 2.0 for loss. S Cole Bishop tallied 6 tackles with 1 for loss, and CB Clark Phillips III collected his fifth INT of the season and his second Pick-6.

*Rising is missing one of his favorite targets in TE Brant Kuithe who is out for the season with a torn ACL.

*On the season, QB Rising is 118-for-171 (.690) with 13 TDs and 3 INTs. He has also rushed for 248 yards on 36 carries with 3 TDs.

*RB Thomas leads the Utes with 386 rushing yards on 85 carries and 5 TDs.

*Rising's two favorite targets are WR Devaughn Vele who has 27 receptions for 356 yards and 3 TDs and TE Dalton Kincaid who has 23 receptions for 324 yards and 5 TDs.

*Defensively, 5 different players have collected interceptions for Utah this season (CB Clark Phillips with 5, S R.J. Hubert with 2, and DT Junior Tafuna, S Cole Bishop and LB Karene Reid each with 1).

*S R.J. Hubert leads the Utes with 39 tackles on the season with 2 for loss.

*DE Van Fillinger (3.5-20), DE Gabe Reid (2.5-20), LB Lander Barton (2-14), LB Karene Reid (1.5-10) S Cole Bishop (1-11) and DE Connor O'Toole have each recorded sacks.

*Utah is a very disciplined team, ranking No. 7 nationally in fewest penalties with just 3 on the season.

*PK Jordan Noyes is 6-for-7 on field goals this season with his long being 43 yards.

RANKINGS

*USC is ranked No. 7 in the latest AP Poll and 6th in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Utah is ranked No. 20 in the AP Poll and 19th in the USA Today Coaches Poll. This is the first time in the 2022 season that the Trojans will take on a ranked opponent.

SERIES

*USC holds a 13-7 record over Utah, including 3-4 in Salt Lake City. Since Utah joined the Pac-12, Troy is 6-4 versus the Utes.

*In USC's last meeting 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 (since starting at the same time against Wisconsin in the Coliseum in 1955). It was the third straight week that USC faced an opponent playing its first game of the season (Utah's first 2 scheduled games of 2020 were cancelled due to COVID issues). It was Utah's first loss in a home opener since 2007. QB Kedon Slovis threw for 2 TDs and PK Parker Lewis nailed 4 field goals for the Trojans.

VERSUS PAC-12 CONFERENCE

*USC has won 69.8% (486-202-29) of its games against current Pac-12 opponents (does not include 9 wins later vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 495-202-29, 70.2%).

IN OCTOBER

*USC has a 315-124-19 (.709) all-time record while playing in the month of October (not including 5 wins vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 320-124-19, .712).

AT NIGHT

*USC is 186-75-4 (.709) at night, including 110-35-4 in the Coliseum, 61-32 on the road and 15-8 at neutral sites (does not include 5 wins and 1 loss vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 191-76-4, .709 overall, 113-35-4 in the Coliseum, 17-9 at neutral sites).

ARTIFICIAL TURF

*USC is 48-32-1 in its last 79 games on artificial turf (not including 3 wins vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 51-32-1).

USC VS. UTAH SCHOOLS

*Besides its 13-7 mark versus Utah, USC is 6-0 against Utah State and 2-2 versus BYU.

USC-UTAH CONNECTIONS

*USC running backs coach Kiel McDonald spent the previous five seasons (2017-2021) as Utah's running backs coach. During his time, Utah led the Pac-12 in rushing in 2021 with All-Pac-12 first teamer Tavion Thomas eclipsing the 1,000-yard rushing barrier (he set Utah's single-season rushing TD record with 21) and in 2019 with First Team All-American and Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year Zack Moss who recorded his third consecutive 1,000-yard season and became the program's all-time leading rusher (he set or tied 8 school records). The late Ty Jordan was a Freshman All-American, AP Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year and the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2020 while averaging 119.4 rushing yards (tops among FBS freshmen). The Utes won the Pac-12 South Division title in 2018-19-21 and were Pac-12 champs in 2021. They played in the 2017 Heart of Dallas Bowl, 2018 Holiday Bowl, 2019 Alamo Bowl and 2022 Rose Bowl.

*USC has 3 players from Utah (QB Jake Jensen of Pleasant Grove HS, ILB Tayler Katoa of Layton HS and ILB Carson Tabaracci of Park City HS), while Utah has 28 Californians on its roster.

*USC ILB Carson Tabaracci transferred to USC in the fall of 2022 from Utah after spending the spring of 2022 with the Utes.

*USC DL Brandon Pili's sister, Alissa, is a junior forward on the Utah women's basketball team.

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

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

*USC DB Fabian Ross, RUSH Garrett Pomerantz and DB Zion Branch were high school teammates with Utah OL Falcon Kaumatule at Bishop Gorman high school in Nevada.

*WR Ty Shamblin and P/PK Garth White were high school teammates with Utah LB Ethan Calvertat Oaks Christian high school.

*USC SNP Nathan Weneta was high school teammates with Utah kicker Joey Cheek at Cathedral Catholic high school.

*USC OL Brett Neilon and OL Kilian O'Conner were high school teammates with Utah CB Malone Mataele at Santa Margarita Catholic high school.

*USC TE Malcolm Epps was college teammates with Utah RB Ja'Quinden Jackson at Texas.

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

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

FULL GAME NOTES (PDF)