Utah Utes Vs. USC Trojans Score Prediction, Game Day Storylines
Oct 20, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: 5:08 pm
SALT LAKE CITY – We are around 24 hours away from the No. 14 Utah Utes kicking off against the No. 18 USC Trojans which means it’s time for storylines and a game prediction.
Expectations feel a little back on track for the Utes after they showed some life on offense under quarterback Bryson Barnes against Cal last weekend. With that being said, USC is no joke- especially their offense and Utah will have their work cut out not only stopping the Trojans, but keeping up with points.
The Pac-12 in its final season currently has six total teams ranked in the AP Top 25 and the Utes still have to try to get past three of them starting this weekend in Los Angeles in order to potentially three-peat as Pac-12 Champions. Utah can beat USC, but they are going to have to bring their A-game to L.A. in order to do it.
Headed to California this week 🙌 pic.twitter.com/2DiHL514vH
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) October 16, 2023
Before game day, make sure you are in the know about important storylines, and questions surrounding the game as well as a score prediction for Utah versus USC.
Three Storylines For Utah Football Vs. USC
- Cam Rising. This storyline took one more interesting turn this week when Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham revealed it would be possible for Rising to return next season with a medical redshirt as long as he doesn’t play a down of football this year. Now, nothing is in motion for that yet and there is no guarantee that Rising would even want to do that, but the possibility is there. With that said, confidence level is high that the Utes will be rolling with Bryson Barnes this week in Los Angeles.
- Sione Vaki & Ja’Quinden Jackson. In step with storyline number one, it seems Utah found a formula they like on offense without Cam Rising. Bryson Barnes is part of it, but perhaps most importantly is the one-two punch in the run game they found with safety Sione Vaki and running back Ja’Quinden Jackson. It will be critically important that the Utes find that same lightening and keep it up against the Trojans. If they do that, they may have a fighting chance.
- Utah’s Dominant Defense. The one thing that has gone well for the Utes all season has been the defense and they will need them to do it again on Saturday. Caleb Williams and the Trojans showed last week again Notre Dame that they do not handle being bullied very well. Utah’s defense is more than capable of replicating that, but they will need to be on their game and as disciplined as ever.
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Two Questions Heading Into Utah Vs. USC
- Can Utah Pass Just A Little More? Vaki and Jackson really opened some things up for the Utah offense through the run game which also opened up some things for the pass game. The unfortunate thing was that while Barnes was efficient in the pass game, he did miss some big play possibilities by hesitating just a bit on some open plays. Hit one or two more of those and this offense is looking more than adequate. The plays were there. Barnes has shown he’s capable of hitting them at random conjunctions, but can he get into more of a rhythm and hit them confidently?
- Can Utah Manage Without Cole Bishop In The First Half? This feels like a slightly stupid question since this Utah defense is loaded, but continuity can me a lot to a unit and missing a key piece has the potential to be disruptive. Thankfully the Utes do have Nate Ritchie to fall back on in the first half and he’s certainly no slouch. Still, can this defense not miss a beat without one of their best players in the mix in the first half?
Numbers don’t lie 📊 pic.twitter.com/7hAVlBuWnw
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) October 18, 2023
Utah Vs. USC Score Prediction
I’m on the fence for this game. Utah is missing an awful lot of their key talent for one reason or another (mostly injuries) but are tough as nails. USC has an embarrassment of riches at their disposal along with being at home but lack the toughness that the Utes bring week in and week out. Who prevails?
Being as uncertain as I am about this game, I’m going to lean into what history tells me for my game prediction but have to note I would not be remotely surprised to see this go the other way.
- USC 27- Utah 23
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 X, Instagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports
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