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The California kid dreamed of playing for USC. He idolized them. And when he was old enough and a big enough name to start realizing that dream, all he got from the Trojans was silence.
Troy Williams spent a lot of time wondering: Why didn't USC recruit him? What was it about him that made the Trojans pass on him, both in high school and junior college?
On Saturday night, on the heels of a 31-27 victory for his Utah team, he put his questions to rest by showing USC what it missed.
"Everything happens for a reason," he said. "I moved on from it a long time ago since high school. I'm just glad to be here, at Utah, and that's what matters."
Williams looked every bit the four-star recruit as he coolly passed for 270 yards, two touchdowns and ran for a touchdown. He had three second-half touchdown drives after Utah trailed 24-10 in the third quarter, coming to life when the Utes needed him most.
It was a group effort, to be sure. His offensive line kept him clean for no sacks. He completed passes to 10 different receivers, in whom he said he had absolute trust.
But William's second-half delivery the stoic poise in the pocket, the 16 for 25 second half finding open targets down the field gave Utah's offense a dimension it has lacked for years.
"Troy had a heck of a game," senior lineman Isaac Asiata said. "It's about this guy."
Utah's passing game had 12 "chunk plays" of 15 yards or more, including the game-winning touchdown pass to Tim Patrick. With time from his line, Williams kept peering downfield, looking for the play that would break the game open for Utah.
After a recent spate of turnovers (four in the past two games), Williams also took care of the ball head coach Kyle Whittingham's No. 1 rule for a quarterback.
Williams said he played knowing everyone was watching at his home in Southern California. He got phone calls all week from well-wishers hoping he would prove USC wrong. By some measures, he even outdueled former five-star Sam Darnold (18 for 26, 253), whom the Utes once hoped would come play for the Utes.
Whittingham said afterward that USC "has probably found a quarterback."
So did Utah. And answering a question that always nagged at him, Troy Williams found some peace at last.
Troy Williams answers the call
• Williams throws for a career-best 270 yards and two touchdowns
• Junior quarterback throws for 202 yards in the second half alone
• Williams finds Tim Patrick for the 18-yard, game-winning touchdown