Kyle Whittingham On Pac-12 Title Game: We Love The Chip On Our Shoulder
Nov 28, 2022, 1:48 PM | Updated: Nov 29, 2022, 10:25 am
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY- Utah is heading back to Las Vegas this week to play in their fourth Pac-12 Championship Game in five years against USC– a team they have already faced and beat earlier this year. It’s a very similar situation to what they faced last season against Oregon when they earned their first Pac-12 Title but this time the Utes are coming in as underdogs with a chip on their shoulder.
Naturally, there are challenges to playing and attempting to beat a team twice as Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham acknowledged early on in his Monday press conference.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) November 28, 2022
“Big challenge this week,” Whittingham said. “We find ourselves in a very similar situation as last year playing a team we already beat one time. As we all know, it’s difficult to beat a really good team twice but that is what our challenge is.”
We Love A Chip On Our Shoulder
Whittingham has respect for USC, consistently praising them for the talent they put together ahead of the 2022 campaign to quickly rally after a not-great showing in 2021. Offensively, there are few teams doing it better than the Trojans at the moment with quarterback Caleb Williams under center. On top of that, USC’s defense has been particularly good taking the ball away from its opponents.
“SC is ultra-talented,” Whittingham said. “Very efficient on offense. They aren’t number one in total offense, but they are number one in yards per play which to me is more important than total offense. The quarterback is terrific, has one of the higher passer-efficiency ratings in the conference- he can score about 42 points per game. Probably their most impressive statistic overall without a doubt is their turnover margin. They’ve only turned it over four times and have gained- 27, I think it is. It’s got to be if not number one in the nations, close to it.”
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However, with all of that said, Whittingham and Utah are not afraid of USC, and they certainly don’t mind playing the underdog role in the Pac-12 Championship Game. In fact, as Whittingham put it in his press conference, they prefer it that way.
“Well, pretty much everyone has them winning and going to Playoffs and Caleb winning the Heisman,” Whittingham said. “That’s kind of already been talked about, so we love the chip on our shoulder. The nobody is giving us a chance- we seem to thrive in that capacity and in that role so we will see.”
Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports
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