No. 7 USC at No. 20 Utah
When: 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City
TV/Radio: Fox/AM 790
Records: USC 6-0, 4-0 in Pac-12; Utah 4-2, 2-1
Line: Utah by 3.5
Injury report: USC: PROBABLE: LB Shane Lee (hand); OUT: EDGE Romello Height (shoulder), TE Jude Wolfe (foot); Utah: N/A
What’s at stake? It’s a game between the top-ranked Pac-12 team and the preseason favorite. So the stakes are clear: Winner wins the tiebreaker in the conference standings with an eye on the Pac-12 championship game in December. And while Utah is out of the playoff picture after a second loss last week against UCLA, a win over a top-25 opponent would greatly benefit USC’s postseason résumé.
Who’s better? USC probably has more pure talent on offense, while Utah gets the nod on defense. The Trojans are undefeated but have had a couple close calls. Utah also benefits from continuity and years of experience together whereas the USC roster is largely going through its first season together.
Matchup to watch: USC WR Jordan Addison vs. Utah CB Clark Phillips III. It’s last year’s winner of the nation’s top receiving award versus one of the best cornerbacks in the entire Pac-12. If the former La Habra High star can contain Addison, it will severely limit what the Trojans can do on offense. But if Addison gets cooking, everyone on the USC offense should eat.
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USC wins if: QB Caleb Williams and Addison connect for a 100-yard game while Williams completes 60% of his passes. The Trojans force two turnovers and hold Utah QB Cam Rising below 40 yards rushing.
Prediction: USC 45, Utah 31. I got a sense that the USC passing game was pretty frustrated following the Washington State performance. I still think Utah is capable of winning a close win, but think it’s more likely the Trojans exorcise some frustrations in this game and put together a convincing statement win.