Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah football: Utes prepare for historic arrival of USC

Utah football » Trojans set to visit Salt Lake City for first time since 1917.

First Published Sep 30 2012 03:47 pm • Last Updated Jan 14 2013 11:31 pm

Randy Lewis has gone to Utah football games as a season-ticket holder since he was 6.

In 1963.

At a glance

USC at Utah

» USC was the AP preseason No. 1 , but its national title hopes were derailed when it lost at Stanford on Sept. 15.

» Utah is 2-2, including losses at Utah State and Arizona State.

» Both teams are coming off a bye.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Safe to say he’s seen most of the big games ever played at Rice-Eccles Stadium (and Rice Stadium and Ute Stadium). So forgive him if he’s a bit amped for the Utes to host Southern California on Thursday.

"It’s hard for me to define the significance of it, to be honest with you," said Lewis, a Salt Lake City real estate agent and former Crimson Club board member.

Even with both teams struggling, and the Utes likely to enter the week as double-digit underdogs, Utah-USC may be the most anticipated game in school history. Tickets for the sold-out game available last weekend on StubHub ranged from $93 to $1,200 (as opposed to $42 to $325 for the Utah-Cal game three weeks later).

USC has won 11 national championships and appeared in the Rose Bowl 33 times, more than any other team in the country. The Trojans last visited Salt Lake City in 1917, when they beat the Utes 51-0.

For Utah, the matchup against one of the most dominant programs in college football history is just the latest checkpoint in its move from the Mountain West Conference to the Pac-12.

"In the past it was once every 10 years we’d get a team from a power conference in here," Lewis said. "Now it’s five times a year."

Thursday’s showcase matches the Utes (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) and Trojans (3-1, 1-1) in a game that, in the preseason, pundits had circled as having national significance. The Trojans were the preseason No. 1 and Utah was returning a fourth-year starter at quarterback and perhaps the best running back in school history.

However, the loss of Jordan Wynn in Week 2 and the emergence of holes in Utah’s defense have derailed Utah’s hopes of a run at the Pac-12 championship. Meanwhile, USC has not received the prolific offense it anticipated from quarterback Matt Barkley, receiver Robert Woods and former Penn State running back Silas Redd.

story continues below
story continues below

The Trojans’ national title hopes took a serious hit when they lost to Stanford on Sept. 15, and they rank sixth in the Pac-12 in total offense and defense.

"The Stanford loss takes some of the luster off the game, I guess you can say from a national perspective," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said last week. "But for us it’s a huge game, as is every week from this point forward in the season."

Last year, in their first game in the Pac-12, the Utes lost 23-14 after a field goal that would have tied the game was blocked and returned for a USC touchdown.

Utah Athletic Director Chris Hill said the most excited he’s been for a game at Utah was in 2004 against BYU for the Fiesta Bowl, but that Thursday’s game comes close.

"I think people thought USC would be ranked No. 1 and that we would be 4-0," he said. "That’s what everybody wants, but I think it’s taken very little off the excitement for people."

boram@sltrib.comTwitter: @oramb

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.