Utah vs. USC Livestream — Utes Fall 33-17 in Season Opener

Ryan Kostecka

Here. We. Go.

Game day has finally arrived as Utah is set to begin its 2020 college football season against No. 20 USC on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on ESPN.

“I look at it as exciting. You want to play against the best. I feel like all the preparation we’ve been doing in the offseason has led us to this point,” Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd said on Tuesday. “I feel like 2020, coming back from this crazy year, what better way to start off than to go against the best team in the Pac-12 South. Two of the best teams. I feel like it’s a perfect matchup. I can’t wait.”

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Courtesy of Utah Athletics

PREGAME
*One hour prior to kickoff and the Utes specialists are out on the field. No idea as to who will start under center for Utah.

*Great to see Britain Covey on the field tonight for Utah. He’s first out of the “tunnel” and catching kickoffs…

*The entire Utah team is now on the field, with just over 40 minutes until kickoff

*FWIW, Rising is in the middle of the team getting the team hyped up and leading the pregame cheers… take it as you want...

*FWIW, Rising was the first QB in line to take pregame warmup throws…

*According to the USC radio broadcast, Trojans leading rusher Markese Stepp is in street clothes and will not play tonight…

*The first rep on 7v7 in warmups goes to sophomore QB Cam Rising — looks as if Rising will be the starter after beating out Drew Lisk and Jake Bentley for the job...

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*It’s official, Cam Rising will be the opening night starter after beating out Jake Bentley and Drew Lisk in a QB competition. Great opportunity for the sophomore...

*While Rising is the starter, curious to seem if he was the original starter as Bentley missed time due to COVID-19 protocols. Curious if that put Rising or ahead or if he was the starter since Whittingham made the decision…

*USC wins the toss and defers. Utah to receive, Trojans defend the south endzone...

FIRST QUARTER
*Jordan Wilmore and Bryan Thompson back to receive... 

*Utah begins the 2020 season at the 25-yard line after a touchback

*Rising’s first pass was broken up. Official was reaching for his flag, had trouble getting it out, and elected to not throw it. Utah to punt...

*After Utah 3-and-out, USC to begin with ball at own 25...

*Great defensive coverage by Utah. Slovis was forced to get out of the pocket and threw an incomplete pass. Defense forces a 3-and-out… Samson Nacua back to receive the punt 

*Utah starts with the ball at its own 40 with 12:13 left in the first quarter...

*Covey wasn't in on that opening drive and didn't return the punt. he was dealing a tight hamstring this week according to ESPN700 Porter Larson... not sure if that's affecting him now...

TV TIMEOUT
Utah 0 — USC 0
12:13 left 1Q
Utes ball on own 40

*Rising with the first completion this season is a 9-yard pass to Solomon Enis. He follows it up with a dime to while being tackled for an 18-yard completion to Fotheringham. Utes ball at USC 36

*Easy to see why Whittingham was high on freshman Ty Jordan, the kid is downright electric...

*Rising runs for his life and Utah force to settle for a 36-yard FG attempt after pass goes incomplete into the endzone...

Utah 3 — USC 0
9:07 left 1Q

Jadon Redding with a 36-yard FG — Rising looked sensational on some plays and Jordan is dynamite with the ball in his hand.

*Rising with some absolute dimes on that drive, looks good moving out of the pocket as well. O-line had some issues as Rising was forced out of the pocket more than you’d like to see. Either way, the Utes strike first.

*USC to start with the ball at its own 19...

*USC starting to find a rhythm on offense as Slovis has back-to-back completions after the Trojans covered a 3-and-1. Ball at its own 49...

*Carr fumbles the ball but picks it up for a 4-yard gain into Utah territory...

*Right now, Utah struggling to get any sort of pass rush on Slovis. He has all time to throw and it’s showing, USC has the ball just outside the redzone...

*Utah gets the initial stop on third down after a pass falls incomplete. USC will attempt a 35-yard FG to tie it up

Utah 3 — USC 3
5:17 left 1Q
Scoring Drive: 11 plays for 63 yards
Slovis finds a rhythm on offense as the Utes gave up chunk passing plays but stiffened when it mattered most

*Like I said earlier, USC got some chunk plays through the air but the Utes defense stiffened in the redzone. That needs to keep happening if Utah wants to find itself in this game during the fourth quarter…

*Utah begins with the ball at its own 25...

*Rising hits Jordan for a 22-yard catch-and-run.. this kid is fun to watch...

*Brumfield with a huge gain on 3-and-4, puts the ball at USC 28 after 22-yard carry...

*First mistake by Rising comes after he overthrows Ty Jordan on a screen pass. Drake Jackson with the INT for the Trojans. USC ball at own 37...

*Sack by Hauati Pututau on the first play of the drive...

*Such a frustrating INT for Rising as the Utes had the Trojans backpedaling on that drive. Has to realize when the screen play isn’t there and throw it away…

*Utah’s defense holds and forces a three-and-out… great showing by that side of the ball…

Utah 3 — USC 3
End of 1Q
Utah's offense looking good thus far if not for INT by Rising. Defense playing with typical ferocity and showing out well for youth and inexpereince. Utah to receive the punt once play resumes

SECOND QUARTER
*Nacua with the fair catch. Utah will take over at its own 15...

*Rising with another rough play as he is sacked and fumbles. USC recovered at Utah 4...

*The amount of football fans calling for Jake Bentley right now following Rising’s two turnovers is absolutely stunning. But I guess nothing should stick me when it comes to college football fans…

Utah 3 — USC 10
14:04 left 2Q
Scoring Drive: 1 play for 2 yards
Rising is sacked and fumbles, which USC recovers at its own 4… Malepeai with the rushing TD

*Jake Bentley is up and throwing the ball after Rising is being checked out by trainers. He was hit hard multiple times not hat fumble and bent awkwardly as well…

*Bentley is now in at QB…

*Not a great throw by Bentley on third-and-8, not even close to Thompson. Utes go three-and-out and are forced to punt...

*USC will takeover with the ball at its own 40 with 12:34 to play in the opening half...

*More than anything, Utah's strength was its offensive line and right now they're being blown off the line of scrimmage and making life very difficult for whoever is at QB...

*Fully understand that it’s still early in the 2Q, but this drive feels very important for the Utes. Need a stop of some sort, just can’t give up a TD...

*HUGE PLAY FOR THE UTES. Utah forces a fumble by Slovis, Sewell scoops it up at the 22 and scores to tie the game…

Utah 10 — USC 10
11:53 left 2Q
When they needed it most, the defense steps up. Tupai with the sack, Kaufusi forces a fumble at the 29, Sewell picks it up at 22 and scores

*USC will begin with the ball at its own 25...

*Great open field tackle by freshman Clark Phillips III to prevent a first down and force a 3-and-5

*Slovis hits Vaughns for a 42-yard gain, USC ball at Utah 27… followed up by a 14-yard rush for the Trojans...

USC TIMEOUT
Utah 10 — USC 10
9:39 left 2Q
USC driving with the ball at Utah 13 with 2-and-10 upcoming

*Bad penalty on Utah as an offsides call makes it 3-and-5 from the 8 rather than 3-and-10 from the 13...

Utah 10 — USC 17
9:28 left 2Q
Scoring Drive: 7 plays, 75 yards 
Utes looked pose to get another redzone stop but an offsides made it 3-and-5, and then Slovis has all day to throw before finding Vaughns for the score

*Big drive upcoming for the Utes. Last two offensive plays have been turnovers. Need a long and sustained drive that ends in points otherwise this might get out of hand…

*Utah will begin with the ball at its own 25 and 9:28 left 2Q…

*Bentley still in at QB for the Utes

*UTAH FUMBLE. Bentley and Jordan with a bad exchange as USC recovers at Utah 27

*Utah trailing by 7 with a -2 turnover ratio thus far and losing on both sides of the line of scrimmage... not an ideal start to the season. Oh yeah, it's only midway through the second quarter...

*USC TOUCHDOWN — but a hold on the Trojans gives Utah a much-needed break…

*UTAH INTERCEPTION, Sewell with the big-time pick gives Utah the ball at its own 13

*Bentley nearly picked off. Took forever to throw the ball despite seeing his receiver open… lucky to get away with it

*Utah with another three-and-out as Bentley is drilled while releasing it, missed throw badly

*USC will take over at Utah 40 following the 27-yard punt

*Offensive line is absolutely killing the Utes right now, missing on protections and not communicating or sliding… that needs to change ASAP

Utah 10 — USC 24
5:45 left 2Q
Game is starting to get out of hand as Utah’s defense looks exhausted, and for good reason. Slovis with a 10-yard TD pass

*Utah begins with the ball at its own 25

*Finally a Brant Kuithe sighting, huge play upcoming as Utah with a 3-and-3 from own 32. Need a first down to get some momentum back...

*Utah picks up the first down but a holding penalty on Nick Ford now makes in 3-and-13 from its own 22... those plays are absolutely back-breaking

*Bentley with a 33-yard run where he crosses the entire field to get a first down. But Moala picks up a penalty so it’s only an 18-yard gain… Utah refusing to get out of its own way

*After a Bernard rush to make it third-and-short, Bentley hits Vele for the first to put the ball at USC 45

*Bentley starting to settle in after that long run. Back-to-back big throws has the ball at USC 13 aided by a USC unsportsmanlike penalty. Huge series of plays upcoming...

*Utah Timeout… Utes ball at USC 7 with 2-and-3 upcoming and 54 seconds left in the half…

*SAMSON NACUA TOUCHDOWN… hooks up with Bentley for a 7-yard score

Utah 17 — USC 24
:49 left 2Q
Scoring Drive: 9 plays, 75 yards in 4:56
Bentley settles in and Utah picks up a huge touchdown right before the half. Hold USC here and we got a game going into the final 30 minutes...

*USC will take over at own 25 with no timeouts left in the half.

HALFTIME
Utah 17 — USC 24 
Thrilling first half comes to an end as the Utes aren’t backing down from the Trojans. Big plays on offense and even bigger stops on defense has this game close… 

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Halftime Stats

*What a turnaround for the Utes. After looking like they might get run out of their own house, they respond with a huge touchdown drive to end the first half and make it a one-score game. Utah playing with the moxie you love to see…

*To turn the ball over three times and have numerous three-and-outs, incredible that Utah is down by just 7. USC will get the ball to begin the half but Utes definitely stole the momentum

*After the injury to Rising (we assume), Bentley looks calmer. The OL gave him a lot more time that drive and the blend of pass/run plays was ideal. Offense beginning to take shape, even with Kuithe making a minimal impact

*KEYS TO SECOND HALF
1.) Win the turnover battle
2.) Tighten up in the redzone (force FG's instead of TD's)
3.) Find a way to involve Kuithe and Thompson more
4.) Offensive line must give Bentley time to throw and keep opening holes for RB's
5.) Defensive line needs to get more pressure on Slovis and make him uncomfortable

*Utah’s 8 Possessions…
3 Turnovers
3 Punts / All three-and-outs
1 Field Goal
1 Touchdown
Utes blessed with that defensive touchdown in the first quarter…

THIRD QUARTER
*USC returns the opening kick 18 yards, will take begin at own 19

*Trojans with two third-down conversions already on this drive, and then back-to-back big plays has ball at Utah 11...

*Huge pass break-up by Fotu forces a USC field goal...

Utah 17 — USC 27
9:32 left 3Q
Scoring Drive: 11 plays, 81 yards in 5:22
USC uses chunk plays to get down to the redzone but the defense stiffens when it matters most to limit damage to just 3 points

*Utah somewhat did its job by limiting the Trojans to just a field goal. Could've used a stop to really seize the momentum but that's still a decent sign moving forward...

*Utah will begin with the ball at its own 25... Bentley still in at QB

*Cam Rising’s night appears to be done. He’s on the sidelines without pads on. Also, starting center Orlando Umana is being helped off the field… not good for the Utes

*Absolutely atrocious throw by Bentley. Throws the ball across the field into triple coverage and Talanoa Hufanga comes down with the INT. Huge momentum killer…

*Apparently Bentley thought he was Kyler Murray and that Bryan Thompson was DeAndre Hopkins… They Aren’t

*USC takes over at own 13…

*Fully understand that the Utes haven’t played a game in nearly a full calendar year… but FOUR turnovers is absolutely unacceptable from an offense predicated on forcing turnovers rather than the other way around

*Utah got USC into a 1-and-20 but a 47-yard play by the Trojans puts the ball at the Utes 24

*Vonte Davis with a near INT at the goal line, forcing a USC 43-yard FG attempt…

Utah 17 — USC 30 
4:47 left 3Q
Scoring Drive: 8 plays, 62 yards in 3:56
Utah forces another FG following another turnover. Defense gave up one huge play but nearly got the INT at the goal line

*Huge series upcoming for the Utes. Need a score to keep this game from getting away from them. They responded in the first half, curious to see how they respond now...

*Utah will begin with the ball at its own 25

*Bentley is trying to get the ball to Kuithe but he’s just not making good throws. Tough day for junior tight end

*Bentley is sacked for a 12-yard loss, making it 4-and-18 and forcing another three-and-out and punt...

*USC takes over at own 45 with 3:21 left in 3Q

*Big play by Tafua on first down with a sack for a 9-yard loss... which is followed by a bad snap and fumble, which Slovis recovers and throws away

*Another strong showing by the defense, forces a three-and-out. USC punt gives Utah the ball at its own 15

*There’s Bryan Thompson, hooks up with Bentley for a 31-yard gain. Ball at USC 41

UTAH 17  — USC 30
End of 3Q
Utah is driving and will have the ball at the USC 42 with 2-and-11 upcoming. Absolutely need a score right now to stay in this game

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Stats through 3 quarters

FOURTH QUARTER

*They picks up 4 yards in 3-and-8 but a holding penalty on Utah is accepted. Utes now at 3-and-19 from the 50. Need a chunk play to get a FG opportunity

*Utah going for it on 4-and-6 from USC 37... this could very well be the game...

*Bentley converts the first down with an 8-yard pass to Enis

*Alex Markham reporting that Rising may be out for awhile with an injury. This would be a massive blow to the Utes considering Whittingham said the starting QB outright won the job, alluding to the fact that he was just better throughout camp. 

*Bentley scrambles for the first down on 2-and-1, ball now at USC 16

*Huge 3-and-5 upcoming. Utah really needs a TD here with the ball at USC 11

*Utah fails to convert as pass is completed for one-yard following a great tackle bu Hufanga. Utes going for it on 4-and-4...

*Fourth down conversion fails as the pass is broken up after being nearly intercepted. Offensive line completely fell apart on the last play and forced Bentley to get rid of the ball much faster than he would've liked while throwing off his back foot

*USC takes over at own 10 yard line with 9:12 to play

*I get that the Utes are down 13, but with over 9 minutes left I’m probably kicking it. This way you make it a 10-point game and give your team a chance. A stop on downs pretty much means you need a miracle at this point…

*Utah can’t get off the field as USC converts on 3-and-7 after Slovis escapes a near sack. Trojans now with two third down conversations on this drive to bleed the clock

*Utah finally gets a stop on third down, forces a USC punt... But the Trojans took off nearly 6 minutes of clock time during that 8-play, 30-yard drive

*Utes takes over at own 15 with 3:39 to play and trailing by 13...

*Utah facing 3-and-9 from own 29… Bentley scrambles for 3 yards but a holding penalty on Ford makes it 3-and-19... another costly mistake

*That’s the game. Fitting that Bentley throws to Kuithe into quadruple coverage, although he had a receiver open on the sideline for what would’ve been a first down…

*USC takes over at Utah 27 with just 1:29 remaining

*Utah forces a three-and-out, but USC nails a 47-yard field goal

UTAH 17 — USC 33
1:03 left 4Q
Defense forces the Trojans to settle for another field goal

*Utah takes over at own 25 with 1:03 remaining in the game

*Bentley hooks up with Enis for a 25-yard gain on first down…

*Ball now at USC 36 with 10 seconds to play

*USC gets another INT, Utah's fifth turnover of the night

UTAH 17 — USC 33
Final
*Utah drops its season opener to visiting USC. Subpar play by the offensive line and FIVE turnovers ultimately the undoing for the Utes

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Final Stats

FINAL
*Utah has a lot to learn and grow from this game. What was considered an strength (offensive line) turned out to be a massive liability while the young and inexperienced defense fought extremely hard and made some big plays…

*Somehow the Utes have more questions than answers following that loss... not sure if that's a good thing or bad...

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