Los Angeles • Nearly all the positives put up by Utah during its Pac-12 game at the Coliseum against USC on Saturday were placed there by the defense.
“That was it,” Kyle Whittingham said afterward.
As the Ute offense stumbled and bumbled, turning the ball over four times in the first half, every one of which led to points for the Trojans, the defense continued to do what it could to stop the dam break.
Final numbers on the board: USC 19, Utah 3.
“Some might think we get tired when the offense doesn’t score,” defensive end/linebacker Trevor Reilly said. “But we just keep going out and playing.”
That’s exactly what happened here. As bad as the offense was, the D was good. Led by Reilly, the Ute defense knew if its team was going to have any shot at victory, it had to keep working until the guys on offense figured a whole lot of things out. It waited and waited and tackled and waited.
It held the Trojans to 260 yards of offense — just 30 on the ground.
And that figuring never came.
At times, it seemed as though the Ute defense would collapse, but that collapsing never came, either, despite a bit of mental and physical wear and tear. Utah held USC to three second-half points. But its counterparts on offense put up zip.
In the first half, while USC built a 16-3 lead, due in large part to the aforementioned turnovers — three picks and a fumble — the Utah defenders gave up just 135 yards.
But the Ute offense was stymied even more, getting 132, only 81 via the run.
“Defensively, we matched USC,” Reilly said. “But you have to give them credit. They took their offensive shots when they had them.”
And the Utes had almost none.
A closer look
Utah Category USC
201 Total yards 260
130 Passing 230
71 Rushing 30
5-30 Sacks 6-54
13 First downs 14