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What Can Utah Learn From BYU’s Win Over USC?

Wide receiver Demari Simpkins #17 of the Utah Utes celebrates with wide receiver Samson Nacua #45 after catching a touchdown pass in the second half of the game against the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 14, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The BYU Cougars knocked off the 24th ranked USC Trojans on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium, 30-27 in overtime. This week, it’s the Utes turn to face the Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The Utes will benefit from the Cougars playing them first because they can watch the film from the game and see what worked for BYU in order to get the win.

Utah is 0-4 at the Coliseum since joining the Pac-12 and has only won one game in the entire history between the two schools.

What can Utah learn from BYU’s win over USC?

How BYU Beat USC

BYU’s 30-27 overtime win over USC taught us one thing, to stop the air raid offense, force the Trojans to run. Sounds easy enough but the Cougars defense masterfully kept USC’s prolific passing attack in check by forcing them to run the football.

The Cougars dropped back eight in coverage and relied heavily on their defensive line to generate a three-man pass rush.

Defensive tackles Khyiris Tonga and Lorenzo Fauatea caused havoc on a USC offensive line that was without one of their top linemen in Andrew Vorhees.

Offensively, BYU quarterback Zach Wilson connected with 12 different receivers in the victory. The USC defense is talented but very young, especially in the secondary.

The Trojans have four and five-star athletes all over the field, but their defensive scheme has no identity and isn’t keeping any opposing offenses awake at night.

What Utah Can Capitalize On

The Utes have a strong defensive line, that is ranked among the best in the country. They will bring at least four players on a rush led by star Bradlee Anae, Leki Fotu, John Penisini and either Mika Tafua or Maxs Tupai. That will be critical for them to create as much if not more havoc on the USC offensive line that starts one senior, one junior and three sophomores. The Trojans might be forced to bring one or two tight ends to help block or some assistance from the running backs.

Utah won’t need to drop eight to stop the “Air Raid” offense that USC has installed with a shutdown corner in Jaylon Johnson and reliable cover corners in Javelin Guidry, Tareke Lewis and Josh Nurse. Safeties Julian Blackmon and Terrell Burgess will be patrolling the secondary and has already had a major impact on Utah’s success on defense this season.

It will be a good experience for Utah to face an offense like USC, who is trying to put in the air raid offense that features a lot of throws from the quarterback. Utah will face a team that legitimately throws the ball at least 50 times per game in Washington State next week.

The Utes have been one of the more efficient teams on offense. Tyler Huntley’s quarterback rating is ranked seventh in the country at 195.9, he has completed 77.8 percent of his pass attempts, which is good for fourth in the nation.

As long as Utah continues to run the offense the way that they have in the first three weeks, they should be able to cause problems for USC’s defense.

Utah and USC will kickoff on Friday at 7 p.m. on FS1.

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