Utah Vs. USC: Who Wants It More?

Oct 22, 2023, 5:24 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – No. 13 Utah pulled off another unbelievable win against USC and the Utes just released the halftime pep talk head coach Kyle Whittingham gave- who wants it more?

The Utes and Trojans went into the half tied at 14 a piece, but it always felt like Utah had USC on their heels. Whittingham urged his team to think about, “who wants it more” heading into the next half of play.

It got a little dicey with about a minute left to play but became abundantly clear that Utah indeed wanted the game more. Quarterback Bryson Barnes scrambled for 26-yards to set up kicker Cole Becker’s 38-yard game-winning field goal pushing the Utes over USC, 34-32.

A Former Quarterback, Safety Gone Offense, & A Pig Farmer Among Others Win It For Utah

One aspect of this big matchup that fell in Utah’s favor that can’t be understated is how the team played like a team. 

It seems so simple and obvious, but when you look around elsewhere, not all teams are actually teams. Some are just a collection of talent parading as a “team”.

The Utes have been dealing with unprecedented injuries this season that have made things not look quite the way most expected, and yet, the result is what most anticipated.

Bryson Barnes- a one-time walk-on and pig farmer from Milford, Utah is leading the way in place of Cam Rising. Occasionally, redshirt freshman Nate Johnson has helped too. Neither was supposed to be or expected to be in the position they have been in. They’ve done the work anyway.


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Ja’Quinden Jackson’s transformation for the team happened last season and is starting to pick up steam. The one-time quarterback has now hit 1000 career rushing yards after switching to running back because that is what Utah needed.

Safety Sione Vaki is emerging as an offensive star after breaking out as a defensive star last year. Why? Utah needed him to go back to his offensive background from high school. It’s been great for him and the team.

There are plenty more examples of players for the Utes stepping up in ways that weren’t expected but they do it because they know they are better when they think of the team and not themselves. There are too many to list.

Not every “team” understands this, however.

We watched Utah’s opponent Saturday struggle with this concept in real time.

Utah has been through tougher situation and understands the importance of sticking by each other when things get tough in a way no one else can.

Who knows where this all leads Utah. They do have some serious limitations. The one thing that is certain- it will never be an excuse. Any failures will be deemed as a challenge to get better not only for themselves, but for each other.

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 XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah Vs. USC: Who Wants It More?