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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

USC's Defense Dominates Defeating Utah 19-3

USC's defense forced four turnovers as the Trojans improve to 5-3 on the season and 2-2 in the Pac-12.

USC's defense was dominate on Saturday as the Trojans rally to beat the Utah Utes (4-4) 19-3. USC kicker Andre Heidari made four field goals in the game as the Trojans improve to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the Pac-12. 

USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron gets his second victory in three games despite having to deal with multiple team injuries. USC wide receiver Marqise Lee didn't suit up, and is just one of many Trojans who didn't take the field. USC used a total of 10 walk-ons during Saturday's game.

Still USC quarterback Cody Kessler found multiple targets on offense. However, although Kessler passed for 230 yards he only recorded one touchdown to WR Nelson Agholor early in the first quarter. Agholor finished with six catches for 97 yards, while freshman WR Darreus Rogers added five catches for 62 yards.

The Trojans defense forced four turnovers including three interceptions. Ranked 3rd in sacks in the Pac-12, USC was also able to put pressure on Utah quarterback Travis Wilson delivering three sacks, finishing with five on the day. Wilson ended the day being 5 of 14 for 51 yards and two interceptions. The Trojans kept the Utes scoreless in the second half with just 201 overall yards on offense. Looking to make an adjustment Utah allowed back-up QB Adam Schulz to make his debut at the coliseum. Unfortunately for the Utes, Schulz struggled going 7 of 17 for 79 yards and one interception. 

After missing two crucial field-goals versus Notre Dame, Heidari set a career high for field goals versus the Utes making four out of five field goals. Huge turnovers allowed Heidari to kick three field goals in the second half putting the Trojans up 16-3 at half time. 

Despite a much needed win, the Trojans continue to struggle on offense. In the second half despite good field position USC was only able to put up 3 points. Also, USC was only 3 for 15 on third down conversions, and averaged one yard per rush. Running back Silas Redd had zero yards rushing finishing the day with 5 catches for 15 yards. Running back Tre Madden led all rushers and carried most of USC's run game finishing with 12 carries for 60 yards.

However, the Trojans took care of the football not having any turnovers and limiting their penalties. USC looks to get key players back, like tight ends Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer, before facing Oregon State on the road.

The Trojans will have a short week before going off to Oregon to play on Nov. 1.

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