No. 10 Utes Set to Open Conference Play at USC


The University of Utah sings the Utah fight song following an NCAA Football game vs. The Idaho State Bengals at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sammy Mora, Sports Editor


It’s road trip time for the No. 10 University of Utah football team (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12) as they travel down to Los Angeles to take on USC (2-1, 1-0 Pac-12) in a Pac-12 South showdown. While the Utes are coming off a strong showing against Idaho State, USC is coming back home after a tough loss to BYU in Provo. 

The teams have a rivaled past since Utah joined the conference, but has never been able to get the win while in L.A. The team looks to break the 100 year losing streak this year.


Scouting the Utes 

Last week, Tyler Huntley was a standout on offense, going 15-19 with 282 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those three touchdowns were beyond 60 yards as Brant Kuithe scored from 60 and Bryan Thompson scored from 82. Huntley made an appearance on the first drive of the third quarter before resting the remainder of the game to get Drew Lisk and Jason Shelley some reps. This year, Huntley is 42-54 passing with 602 yards and four touchdowns. He is also holding a clean sheet when it comes to interceptions through three games this season.

University of Utah sophomore tight end Brant Kuithe (80) leaps over Idaho State Bengals defense for a touchdown during an NCAA Football game at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Bryan Thompson had a breakout game against Idaho State last weekend, notching two catches for two touchdowns, one on a beautiful 82 yard route in the first quarter to get the Utes started in the game. His second came in the third quarter to finish the scoring for the Utes, hauling in a 23 yard pass from Huntley. 

Francis Bernard and Devin Lloyd are continuing to be stout on defense for the Utes. Bernard totaled six tackles and Lloyd totaled nine in the matchup against the Bengals last Saturday. The two combined for four tackles for loss, helping drop Idaho State for a combined seven yards. Bernard is the only one of the two with an interception this season, which he ran back for a touchdown against his former team, the BYU Cougars. Both of these linebackers have combined for 46 tackles already this year — Bernard with 22, Lloyd with 24.

Jadon Redding has solidified himself as Utah’s starting place kicker after going 11-11 on PAT’s through the first three games. He hasn’t had many field goals to try so far this season, but he is perfect on the one he has attempted, going 1-1 with a 35 yard field goal against Idaho State. 


Rushing Record Watch 

After a strong performance last week where he put up 106 yards on just 10 carries, senior running back Zack Moss has surpassed Tony Lindsay to take second place in the all time rushing record here at the U. Moss just needs 196 yards to take the record away from the great Eddie Johnson, who has held the record for over 30 years. The last game that Moss appeared in but didn’t score a touchdown was against USC in 2018. 


University of Utah senior running back Zack Moss (2) on the sideline during an NCAA Football game vs. The Idaho State Bengals at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Scouting the Trojans 

All eyes will be on true freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis who during his short time at the helm of Clay Helton’s offense has gone 58-75 for 715 yards. He has thrown for five TDs to four INTs.

Look for Solvis to target senior wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. Only three games in, he has already racked up 205 yards on 21 receptions. He has scored two TDs on those receptions. 

On the defensive side of the ball, fans need to keep an eye out for local product Jay Tufele, who already has double digit tackles this season while playing on the line. Senior inside linebacker John Houston Jr. also has made big plays for the team, recording 26 tackles so far this season.  


Mascot Report 

USC is one of the three teams in the conference that has both an animated mascot, USC’s Tommy, as well as a live mascot, Traveler the horse. A Trojan Warrior rides into the field on Traveler and stabs a sword in the ground before each home game, a USC tradition going back to 1961.

How to Watch 

This weeks game will be broadcast on Fox Sports One. On the call will be Joe Davis, Bruce Feldman and Brock Huard. The kick is set for 7 p.m. 

You will also be able to listen to the game live on the home of the Utes, ESPN 700 with Bill Riley and Scott Mitchell on the call.


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