Utah, USC Have A Lot To Gain, Lose In Pac-12 Rematch

Dec 2, 2022, 11:17 AM
Utah Utes vs. Oregon Ducks - 2021 Pac-12 Championship...
The Utah Utes take the field for the Pac-12 Conference championship game against the Oregon Ducks at Allegiant Stadium on December 3, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Utes defeated the Ducks 38-10. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS- No. 11 Utah and No. 4 USC have a lot to gain and a lot to lose tonight in their Pac-12 Championship rematch.

For the Utes, they have a chance to repeat as Pac-12 Champions and go to the Rose Bowl after perhaps not being as dominating as they were projected to be before the season kicked off.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by KSL Sports (@kslsports)

For USC, the College Football Playoff is on the line and a bit of a chance at redemption since Utah is the only loss on their nearly flawless season.

This game should be hard-hitting, filled with passion and come down to who wants it more? Will the plucky, tough Utes find a way to walk away with the upset, or will the svelte, revamped Trojans take the title?

Utah’s Defense Vs. Caleb Williams

In the last matchup, Utah’s defense got the best of USC quarterback Caleb Williams- barely. 

Since that first meeting the Utes have drastically improved on defense and it will get put to the test Friday at 6 pm MT/ 5 pm PT. Utah ranks first in the Pac-12 in first down, third down, and fourth down defense. The Utes are also top dogs in passing and rushing defense, scoring defense, and total defense.

Williams hasn’t stayed stagnate since battling with Utah in Salt Lake either. USC hasn’t lost a game since October 15, largely due to Williams and it’s earning him Heisman hype. Largely because of Williams’ ability, USC leads the Pac-12 passing efficiency and scoring offense, while coming in second in third and fourth down conversions and passing offense.

The Pac-12 Championship will most likely come down to who in this battle does a better job of controlling the game- Utah’s defense or Williams?

Keeping Cam Rising And The Ball Safe

USC isn’t necessarily the best defensive team, but they are incredibly good at taking the ball away and getting pressure on the quarterback. In the last meetup, the Utes did a good job of eliminating the Trojans’ strengths on defense by keeping Cam Rising upright all night and making good decisions with the ball.

Recently against Oregon, the Utes had a bit of a meltdown in those areas. Rising uncharacteristically threw three interceptions that ultimately sealed the loss for Utah in Eugene.

There has been some speculation that Rising was not right in that game (he has been banged up since the last meeting with USC), but he did turn it around against Colorado last week looking more like himself.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by KSL Sports (@kslsports)

Needless to say, Utah will need Rising and their offensive line to be at their best as they go against the number one team in sacks, turnovers gained, and turnover margin while coming in second in tackles-for-loss.

Keeping Rising and the ball safe to allow the number one team in time of possession to keep Williams and the USC offense off the field will be critical in round number two.


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

  • Utah Utes Scoreboard

  • Utah Utes Team Leaders

  • Utah Utes Standings

Utah Utes

Gabe Madsen - Utah Utes...
Michelle Bodkin

Utah Basketball Searching For Answers After Second Straight Loss

The Runnin' Utes suffered their second straight loss against Stanford, Thursday night and are now in the process of searching for answers.
22 hours ago
Michelle Bodkin

Utah Women’s Basketball Beats Oregon State On The Road In Overtime

The No. 7 Utah women's basketball team beat Oregon State on the road in overtime, 75-73. A trip to the line for Alissa Pili ultimately sealed the deal for the Utes.
2 days ago
Utah Gymnastics - Red Rocks - UCLA Bruins...
Michelle Bodkin

Red Rocks ‘Take Our Breath Away’ On Top Gun Night Against UCLA

The No. 4 Red Rocks flew right into the "danger zone" and "took our breath away" on Top Gun Night at the Huntsman Center against No. 5 UCLA.
2 days ago
Michelle Bodkin

Inconsistency On Offense Earns Utah Second-Straight Loss

Inconsistency on offense without their second-leading scorer in Gabe Madsen earned Utah their second straight loss.
3 days ago
Kyle Ireland

Tyler Huntley Helps AFC Take Early Lead Over Fred Warner, NFC At Pro Bowl Games

Former Utah QB Tyler Huntley helped the AFC take an early lead over former BYU LB Fred Warner and the NFC at the Pro Bowl Games.
3 days ago
Michelle Bodkin

Utah Guard Gabe Madsen Out 4-6 Weeks With Lower Leg Injury

Utah basketball announced guard Gabe Madsen is out for the game and likely to miss 4-6 weeks with a lower leg injury.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
Utah, USC Have A Lot To Gain, Lose In Pac-12 Rematch