Utah never could get a run game going against the Trojans with the Utes finishing with just 71 yards on 38 carries.
Quarterback Travis Wilson led the team with 12 carries for 42 yards while Kelvin York was the most productive back, finishing with four carries for 21 yards.
Utah kicker Andy Phillips has been the talk of the college football world with his success this year, but he was shown up on Saturday by USC's kicker.
Andre Heidari, who entered Saturday's game just 6-of-11 on the season, went 4-of-5 against the Utes.
He made field goals from 35, 38, 28 and 40 yards and missed a 37-yard attempt.
Phillips, meanwhile, had trouble for the second game in a row after starting the season 11-for-11.
Phillips made a field goal from 42 yards to give the Utes the early lead, but missed a 32-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Utah's coaches took advantage of Saturday's game in Los Angeles to spend Friday night scouting California talent.
The Utes have 33 Californians on their roster and consider the Los Angeles area a prime recruiting ground.
Whittingham said earlier in the week it was important for the Utes to play well in the Coliseum for recruiting purposes.
Pumping up the team: Former Ute safety Eric Weddle, who was drafted by San Diego in 2007, spent Saturday morning with the Utes.
Weddle did his best to inspire the team, telling them they had a unique opportunity to play USC in a stadium in which he always wanted to play. Knowing the Utes came out flat against Arizona a week ago, Weddle said he told the Utes to not let the chance pass them by.
"I told them to play like it is the only thing that matters in life," Weddle said.
Former Utah assistant Fred Graves, now an assistant with the San Diego Chargers, attended the game. ... USC had a moment of silence for USC alum Bill Sharman, who passed away Friday. Sharman coached the Utah Stars of the ABA in 1971 then went on to coach the Los Angeles Lakers. ... Utah linebacker Jacoby Hale, who missed the last two games with a lower leg injury, played on Saturday. ... Backup safety Charles Henderson left the game with a right knee injury.