UTAH UTES

An Early Look At Utes’ 2023 Football Opponents: USC Trojans

Jun 15, 2023, 8:00 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – Spring ball is over, and the summer months are upon us making it a great time to take an early look at Utah football’s 2023 opponents.

Week eight will prove to be a tough one for the Utes as they head to L.A. to take on the USC Trojans after hosting Cal at home out of a BYE week. This will likely be the last time the Utah and Trojans meet for a while, if ever again, as USC heads to the Big Ten in 2024 which is too bad since it feels like a rivalry of sorts has been building the past decade.

USC feels like they could be back on track in year two of Lincoln Riley’s reign. In just his first year at the helm, Riley had the Trojans performing at the level most die-hard fans expect- double digit win season, shot at the conference championship and even the playoffs. (This is after years of having good talent but failing to do much with it under previous coaches.) Will USC take a further step in 2023? Time and games played will tell but on paper they certainly seem poised to at the very least repeat their accomplishments from the year before.

 

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The When And Where Of USC Vs. Utah Football

When: Saturday, October 21

Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California

Time: TBD

Network: TBD

What We Know About USC Heading Into 2023

Much like the Utes, the Trojans appear to be returning a good core of the athletes/coaches that got them to an 11-3 record in 2023 after finishing just 4-8 the season before. Riley will be heading into his second year with USC and has great chemistry with QB1 Caleb Williams who won the Heisman last season.

Like all programs, the Trojans also have to replace some key talent, but early evaluations indicate they have done a good job using the transfer portal to address those holes.

According to ESPN, USC ranks first in the country in both using the transfer portal and bringing in a solid 2023 recruiting class that should instantly help them be better in the coming season.

Keys To The Trojan’s 2023 Class

The Trojans are having to replace receiver Jordan Addison and running back Travis Dye who are now in the NFL. To begin to do so, they have brought in the No. 7 recruit in ESPN’s Top 300, wide receiver Zachariah Branch and receiver transfer from Arizona Dorian Signer. They also addressed the running back room with South Carolina transfer, MarShawn Lloyd.

If there was truly one fault in USC’s game plan last season, it was their defense. The Trojans also appear to have addressed some of those concerns bringing in defensive tackle transfer from Georgia, Bear Alexander. Additionally, USC has brought in transfers Kyon Barrs from Arizona, Jack Sullivan from Purdue, and Anthony Lucas from Texas A&M.

Utah Vs. USC Should Provide Another Heated Pac-12 Battle

Think about it. “Newcomer” Utah has won three of the last four meetings between these two teams. Two of those meet ups were very convincing in the Utes’ favor, one resulted in a Pac-12 Title. Add in the talent both teams are bringing back, USC’s desire to leave the Conference of Champions as champions, and the Utes wanting to ruin that because it’s fun- it all adds up to the making of a really great game in the City of Angles.

 

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USC has all the reasons in the world to want revenge against Utah when they visit their house in late October, and Utah has the means to say “nope” once more. Who ultimately comes out on top of what will likely be one of the best games of the season in the Pac-12 is anyone’s guess at this point. Likely, this game will largely be decided by the overall health of both teams at about the midway point of the season- specifically, are quarterbacks Cam Rising and Caleb Williams set to go? The ability of both defenses to get stops should also be heavily observed. If both teams come out healthy with balanced attacks, college football fans are in for a treat.

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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An Early Look At Utes’ 2023 Football Opponents: USC Trojans