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USC beats No. 3 Utah 42-24; ends Utes’ perfect start to season

Posted at 8:56 PM, Oct 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-25 10:48:06-04

LOS ANGELES -- The University of Utah's chances for a perfect season ground to a halt in Los Angeles Saturday, as the USC Trojans handed the No. 3 Utes their first loss of the season.

Utah's opening drive ended in a punt, and USC scored on their first outing to give them a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

The Utes were able to answer back with a drive that finished with a 30-yard TD pass from Travis Wilson to Britain Covey, and the Utah defense pinned the Trojans back on their goal line and forced a punt on the following possession.

Covey returned that punt 40 yards to reach the 2 yard line and set up Bubba Poole fora  short TD jaunt that gave the Utes their first lead at 14-7.  But the rest of the half would largely go USC's way, as after several punts the Trojans scored on a later drive following what would be the first of two interceptions during the first half.

The most devastating moment for Utah came on an attempt to convert on 4th-and-2 as time dwindled in the second quarter. Wilson's pass was picked off and returned 54 yards by Cameron Smith to make it 28-14 USC as halftime drew near.

The Utes managed to fight into field goal position in that remaining time, and Andy Phillips was good from 53 yards out on a kick that initially looked to be a miss but ultimately veered back between the uprights with 0:05 left in the half. Time would expire on a squib kick, sending both teams to the locker rooms.

The next score came late in the third quarter. After getting stuffed on 3rd-and-goal, the Trojans went for it on 4th-and-goal, electing for a short rush. The ruling of a TD was reviewed but ultimately confirmed, giving USC a 35-17 lead with 3:37 left in the third quarter.

USC continued to outplay Utah, scoring yet again with about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter to make it 42-17 in the Trojans' favor.

With four minutes left in the game, Utah saw a spark of life as Wilson completed a pass to Covey for 66 yards and a touchdown, narrowing the gap to 42-24. Utah's defense held strong on the following USC drive, giving Travis Wilson and Co. the ball back with under two minutes to play.

That drive floundered, however, and a desperate long bomb pass from Wilson on fourth down and with seconds left on the clock was picked off by the Trojans in the end zone.

The Utes fall to 6-1 on the season. They play next on Oct. 31, when they will host Oregon State. That game is scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. MT.

FOX 13's Rebecca Cade caught up with Utah players for reaction right after the game. Watch the video below to hear what they had to say.