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Last 100 Years Have ‘No Bearing’ On USC Game

Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes looks on from the sidelines during their game against the USC Trojans at Rice-Eccles Stadium on September 23, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah hasn’t won at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 103 years. That seems like a long time but the Utes and USC Trojans have only played 9 games in the historic venue.

The first ever meeting inside the Coliseum was in 1916 with the Utes winning the game. That would be the last time as USC won the meetings that took place in 1919, 1925, 1932 and 1948, which was the last meeting other than two bowl games in 1993 and 2001 that the two teams would meet until the Utes made the move from the Mountain West Conference to the Pac-12.

Despite not winning the in Coliseum since 1916, Whittingham said that it doesn’t have anything to do with the last 100 years.

“No, I guess everyone is entitled to a bad century, so this game fortunately in our opinion doesn’t have anything to do with the last 100 years,” Whittingham said at his weekly press conference. “It is its own entity, new challenge. History hasn’t been good to us in that place, but history has no bearing on this year.”

Since joining the Pac-12, Utah is 3-5 all-time against the Trojans, including a 3-1 record at home and 0-4 at the Coliseum.

Whittingham doesn’t have many great memories as a head coach in the Coliseum.

“Yeah several moments,” Whittingham stated. “Throwing three interceptions to the same linebacker a couple of years back. The first time down there we had a field goal that I don’t know if that would have tied it or won it, but that got botched. There hasn’t been a lot of pleasant moments but a lot of unpleasant ones that I can remember.”

2011

It’s hard to tell exactly why Utah lost games inside the LA Coliseum from 1916-48, but it’s clear why they were defeated in the four meetings since becoming conference foes.

Back in 2011, Utah had to adjust quickly to being a Pac-12 school with their first ever conference game being against the Trojans in Los Angeles. It was only their second game of the season, coming off of a win over Montana State in the season opener.

USC jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter before the Utes made it a game in the second with a touchdown to trail by three points at halftime. Both teams found the end zone once in the third quarter.

With seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter, Utah was attempting a 41-yard field goal to potentially tie the game. USC blocked the attempt and Torin Harris returned the blocked field goal 68 yards for a touchdown to end the game with a 23-14 win.

Utah played well in the game, forcing three USC turnovers and only losing the ball once on offense. Utes quarterback Jordan Wynn threw for 238 yards and one touchdown, while running back John White had 56 rushing yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver DeVonte Christopher hauled in 11 catches for 136 yards and one score.

Other than the blocked field goal, the Utes couldn’t get the running game going, rushing for just 81 yards as a team.

2013

Utah lost 19-3 on the road. Andy Phillips nailed a field goal in the first quarter to give the Utes the small lead early but that would be the end of the that with the Trojans scoring 19 unanswered. Utes quarterback Travis Wilson left the game with an injury after throwing two interceptions and not getting much protection from Utah’s offensive line. The big difference in that loss was Utah committing 4 turnovers and USC didn’t have any.

2015

Utah was undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the nation, with USC holding a 3-3 record and was not ranked. The Trojans scored first with Utah answering with their own touchdown in the opening quarter. Then USC scored three straight touchdowns in the second quarter and the Utes only put up three points to trail 28-17 at halftime.

The next time Utah would score was in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach after USC ran in two more touchdowns. The Utes lost 42-24. Wilson threw four interceptions with three of them going to USC linebacker Cameron Smith.

2017

When Utah and USC played their last meeting at the Coliseum, the Utes had their best chance of picking up a win against the 13th ranked team in the country despite a great game from Trojans star quarterback Sam Darnold. It was a great start for Utah when Darnold fumbled the ball and safety Marquise Blair scooped it up and ran in for an 18-yard touchdown. USC answered with a wide open 52-yard touchdown pass from the Trojans quarterback.

Utah took the lead back when wide receiver Demari Simpkins threw a touchdown pass on a trick play to quarterback Troy Williams for a touchdown. Shortly after recovering another fumble off of USC, Williams returned the favor by connecting with Simpkins for a 33-yard score, putting Utah up 21-7 at halftime.

The second half was when it got ugly for Utah, as Darnold threw two touchdowns and running back Ronald Jones ran in another to take a 28-21 lead late in the fourth quarter. The Utes had a chance to tie the game with two minutes left as Williams led the team down the field. He ran the ball in for a one-yard touchdown with 44 seconds left in the game. Rather than tying the game, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham elected to go for the two-point conversion to take the lead. Williams rolled out of the pocket and ran towards the sideline and missed a wide open receiver due to attempting to run the ball in himself and was just short of the two points and the Utes lost 28-27.

Utah will look to snap the streak at the Coliseum when they face the Trojans on Friday at 7 p.m. on FS1.