USC Trojans vs Utah Utes Game Day

  • coleryan

Forums College Football USC Trojans vs Utah Utes Game Day

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    Two ranked teams do battle in the Pac 12 this weekend when the Utah Utes take on the USC Trojans.
    It is the sharing of information from the entire forum community that makes this the best sports betting forum on the internet!
    This thread will be updated daily with information on the game to include important news, injuries, and all essential information to picking a winner leading up to kickoff. Feel free to add anything about this game from news, opinion or picks, all comments and questions are welcomed!
    Good Luck this week!
    Cole (cool)


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    Stat of the day: Tailback Javorius Allen is the first Trojan — since Reggie Bush in 2005 — to rush 100 yards in six games. Bush rushed 100 yards eight times that season..

    USC, ranked 20th, plays 19th-ranked Utah on Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    The Trojans improved to 5-2 overall, 4-1 in Pac-12 Conference play after a 56-28 victory over Colorado at the Coliseum.

    Utah — 5-1, 2-1 — needed double overtime to defeat Oregon State, 29-23, last Thursday in Corvallis, Ore.


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    Utah coach Kyle Whittingham and USC coach Steve Sarkisian both mentioned this Saturday’s game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in their postgame remarks last week.

    And with good reason.

    After the Utes’ 29-23 double-overtime win at Oregon State on Thursday and the Trojans’ 56-28 clobbering of Colorado on Saturday, the next game on the schedule is looming large when it comes to the Pac-12 South race. Both teams are among four in the division with just one conference loss.

    Besides that, there’s the intrigue of the first game between ranked teams in Salt Lake City since 2010. Utah (5-1, 2-1) is 19th in both major polls this week, while USC (5-2, 4-1) is 20th in the AP Top 25 and 21st in the Amway/USA Today Coaches Poll.

    Another matchup to watch is at running back, where the top two rushers in the conference will be in action — USC’s Buck Allen leads the Pac-12 with 129.9 yards per game and Utah’s Devontae Booker is second at 123.7.

    After building up momentum in wins at USC and Oregon State, Whittingham noted the Utes now face what may be the most talented team in the conference in USC.

    “So it doesn’t ever get any easier in this league,” Whittingham said.

    It took 30 games and more than three years for Utah to climb above .500 for the first time in Pac-12 play.

    “This league, right here, is a meat grinder,” Whittingham continued. “And to be able to play the kind of defense we have so far is very encouraging.”

    Utah enters the USC game leading the nation with 5.5 sacks per game. Defensive end Nate Orchard is second with 1.75 per game.

    The Utes face a tough test this week. USC quarterback Cody Kessler is coming off a school record-setting performance against Colorado. The junior threw seven touchdown passes on Saturday. He also set a new conference mark by throwing for the seven scores in the first three quarters.

    “We enjoyed the records we set, but our minds are already on Utah,” said Sarkisian, who also noted that he’s been challenging his players to fight complacency and show maturity when they take the field.

    The Trojans have had two slip-ups this season — 37-31 at Boston College and 38-34 on a game-ending Hail Mary pass against Arizona State — but have defeated Fresno State (52-13), Stanford (13-10), Oregon State (35-10), Arizona (28-26) and Colorado.

    Utah, meanwhile, has got back on track after a disappointing 28-27 setback at home to Washington State on Sept. 27. The Utes went on the road, where they had been just 3-10 in Pac-12 games since joining the conference in 2011 (losing by an average margin of 16.5 points), and won back-to-back games at UCLA and Oregon State.

    “We’ve kind of proven to ourselves that we can play anywhere and win anywhere,” senior wide receiver Dres Anderson said after Utah’s victory at the Rose Bowl. “So there’s no stage big enough that we can’t go to and be successful.”


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    USC -1; TOTAL: 55.5

    The USC Trojans and Utah Utes will each try to extend their winning streaks to three when they meet in a Pac-12 matchup on Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Trojans opened as small favorites and have failed to cover eight of their last nine games as road chalk. In fact, USC lost its last road game in that situation as a 17-point favorite at Boston College on September 13.

    Meanwhile, the Utes have thrived as home underdogs, going 10-3 against the spread in their past 13 games under that scenario. However, they are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games against Pac-12 opponents while the Trojans are 4-1 vs. the line in their past five road meetings with conference foes.

    The Utah Utes sit at 5-1 (5-1 ATS) on the season; in comparison, the Southern Cal Trojans are currently 5-2 (5-2 ATS). Looking to bet on the totals? Utah is 2-4 OU, and Southern Cal is 4-3 OU.

    – How Southern Cal Trojans vs Utah Utes Stats Matchup

    The game also pits Utah’s No. 22-ranked offense, averaging 37.83 PPG, against a Southern Cal defense that ranks No. 47 this week at 23.14 PPG. The Utah aerial game is averaging 191.83 yards per game, less than the Southern Cal Trojans secondary allows through the air, 251.14 YPG per game.

    Defensively, the Southern Cal Trojans feature the league’s No. 94-rated road run defense, allowing 219 yards per game. Utah, meanwhile, ranks No. 36 in rushing offense at home.

    – Southern Cal Trojans vs Utah Utes Betting Odds Trends

    Southern Cal is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games
    Southern Cal is 11-3 SU in its last 14 games
    Southern Cal is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games on the road
    Southern Cal is 5-11 ATS in its last 16 games on the road
    Utah is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
    Utah is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
    The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Utah’s last 5 games
    Utah is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games at home


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    After a one-week hiatus, Travis Wilson will be back at starting quarterback as No. 19 Utah hosts No. 20 USC in a critical Pac-12 South showdown Saturday.

    Kendal Thompson, a transfer from Oklahoma, replaced Wilson in Utah’s win at UCLA on Oct. 4.

    During the subsequent bye week, coach Kyle Whittingham opened up the competition and kept his decision quiet before Utah’s trip to Oregon State last Thursday. Thompson got the start, but he struggled in the first half and was replaced by Wilson for the second half.

    Neither quarterback performed particularly well in the Utes’ 29-23 double-overtime win over the Beavers. Thompson was just 4-of-8 for 17 yards and an interception. Wilson was 5-of-10 for 45 yards. Neither quarterback threw a touchdown.

    This time around, Whittingham wasn’t waiting to name his guy.

    “We think Travis’ performance is a little bit better so far this season than Kendal overall,” Whittingham said. “When you look at the numbers, it’s very close. It’s no different than when we came out of fall camp, with it being a tight race.”

    On the season, Wilson is completing 56.8 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Thompson is completing 59.6 percent of his throws with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Each has run for one score.

    Whittingham didn’t rule out the possibility that Thompson could see action against the Trojans.

    “We’re waiting for some separation to occur,” Whittingham said. “Ideally we’d like some separation to occur, and one guy to take charge and settle in and be the guy, but that hasn’t happened yet, so they’re both going to get opportunities until that does happen.”


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    The USC Trojans are 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS in their last six games on the road. USC hopes to continue that road success against a tough conference opponent this Saturday night visiting the Utah Utes. Utah hosts USC at Rice-Eccles Stadium at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday night.

    This game is currently being listed as a pick’em at sportsbooks.

    USC’s 5-2 SU and ATS record is riddled with inconsistency. Included in the win column are outstanding road wins at Stanford and Arizona and easy blowout wins over Fresno State, Oregon State and Colorado. But the two losses came due to total meltdowns on defense against Boston College’s running game and Arizona State’s passing game. Which version of the Trojans will show up to Saturday night’s game? Averaging 35.6 points per game, the Trojans’ well-balanced offensive attack will keep USC in the game regardless of how the defense plays.

    The Utah Utes have been one of the Pac-12’s biggest surprises this season, jumping out to a 5-1 SU and ATS record including a statement win as a 13-point underdog on the road against the UCLA Bruins. Just a week before that loss, Utah was on the other end of a big upset, suffering a 28-27 loss to Washington State as a 13.5-point favorite at home. Utah is just 2-5 SU and ATS in its last seven games against Pac-12 opponents at home and could use a big win over USC to help continue to build the program.

    The under is 5-0 in Utah’s last five conference home games and 3-1 in the last four meetings between these two teams. USC is 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS against Utah since the Utes joined the Pac-12 in 2011.

    Utah’s only real test this season so far has come against the UCLA Bruins, and the Utes passed it with flying colors. Can it pass this test at home against USC? Time will soon tell, but USC’s superior offense and talent should give the Trojans the slight edge.


    • Author

    One of the more intriguing matchups of the weekend takes place in the Pac-12 South, a showdown Saturday night between the USC Trojans and the Utah Utes. With a victory, USC would be the first Pac-12 team in either division to five conference wins. Utah looks to remain undefeated against the Pac-12 South division as it begins a brutal five-game stretch against the league’s best.

    The game is intriguing from an advanced stats view, as well, a head-to-head battle between one of the nation’s best offenses and one of the best defenses. Traditional box score statistics might not recognize the matchup as particularly remarkable. USC’s offense ranks 28th nationally in points per game and 31st nationally in yards per game. Utah’s defense ranks 35th in points allowed and 55th in yards allowed per game. But those raw numbers don’t account for the strength of opposition faced or the context of play and drive efficiency.

    Our Football Outsiders ratings think more highly of both units. USC’s offense ranks 11th in our opponent-adjusted offense statistic and Utah’s defense ranks 11th in our opponent-adjusted defense statistic. Only two other offenses and two other defenses rank outside the top 25 in raw scoring and yards and inside the top 15 in our opponent-adjusted ratings. The underrated unit matchup might define the outcome of Saturday night’s game in Salt Lake City and shape the Pac-12 championship race for the stretch run.

    One of the primary reasons USC measures so strongly in our offensive ratings is the strength of several defenses the Trojans have already faced. USC has played four top 40 opponent-adjusted defenses and scored an average of 26.5 points per game in those four matchups. Only five other teams have a higher scoring rate against top 40 opponents this season in as many games.

    The Trojans have also been very strong in a few key areas of possession efficiency, taking advantage of scoring opportunities as well as any other team in the nation. USC leads the nation in goal-to-go efficiency and value drive efficiency, scoring an average of 6.03 points on drives that cross the opponent’s 30-yard line. The top two units last season in that measure, Ohio State and Florida State, combined to win 24 FBS games.

    Utah’s defense has been vulnerable in such situations, allowing 5.2 points per opponent value drive (86th) nationally, but the Utes have been exceptional in most other defensive efficiency measures. They allow only 23 percent of opponent drives to cross their own 30-yard line in the first place, the eighth lowest rate nationally.

    Utah has also been very strong at generating turnover value, averaging 9.1 points of scoring and field position value per game from turnovers alone. The Utes are starting drives an average of 6.2 yards farther downfield than their opponents and they’ve forced 31.3 percent of opponent drives to start inside the opponent’s own 20-yard line (the ninth highest rate nationally). Those field position advantages don’t show up in the traditional box score, but they can make a big difference for teams that might be at a disadvantage in terms of talent on the field.

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