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

utah athletic director mark harlan stands in front of Huntsman Center...

Brian Preece

Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan Excited To Renew In-State Football Rivalries

2024 figures to be a transformative season for the Mark Harlan and the U of U as it transitions into the Big 12 after 14 years in the Pac 12.

10 hours ago

andre jackson...

Brian Preece

Locals in MLB: Former Ute Continuing Baseball Dream In Japan

For Andre Jackson, the scenery can't get much different after trading MLB glory for a chance to kickstart his career in Japan.

12 hours ago


Michelle Bodkin

Amelie Morgan Temporarily Departs Utah Gymnastics In Pursuit Of Olympic Dream

Amelie Morgan competed in her last meet with the Red Rocks against UCLA before hopping on a flight for London to pursue her Olympic dream.

1 day ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Gymnast Maile O’Keefe Up For AAI Award Again

Maile O'Keefe was nominated once again for the AAI Award which is given annually to the best female senior gymnast in the country.

1 day ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Gymnastics Remain Rock Solid In Road To Nationals Rankings

The Red Rocks continue to sit at No. 4 in the latest Road to Nationals rankings despite having a BYE last week.

2 days ago


Michelle Bodkin

Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Power Rankings: A Top-Heavy Conference

The Pac-12 is a top-heavy conference when it comes women’s basketball in week eight making it a slugfest to the finish line.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


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

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

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.

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