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Los Angeles • In the second half, neither the Trojans nor the Utes could generate much offense, grinding the outcome down to a final count of 19-3.
Those early miscues put Utah in a hole from which it could not extricate itself.
Both Travis Wilson and Adam Schulz tried - but failed.
After being sacked for a deep loss, Wilson threw a tipped pick near midfield in the closing minutes of the first quarter, giving the ball to the Trojans at the Utah 43-yard line. Shortly thereafter, USC scored on a 30-yard pass from Cody Kessler to Nelson Agholor, who caught the ball along the right sideline and dove forward, somersaulting into the end zone for a 7-3 Trojan lead.
Next, Wilson fumbled at the Utah 19, leading to a USC field goal - and a seven-point margin. Another Wilson interception triggered a Trojan scoring drive near the end of the half, which was punctuated by a 38-yard field goal. A Schulz interception in the final seconds gave USC an additional field goal.
Utah's offense struggled throughout. The Utes were stopped on a 4th-and-1 at the USC 10, erasing a prime scoring opportunity midway through the second quarter. In the fourth, even after a Geoffrey Norwood punt return to the Trojan 33-yard line, Utah couldn't score Andy Phillips missing a short field-goal attempt.