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Utah freshman Eric Rowe might be learning his way around the Utah campus still, but he thinks he knows his way around the defense well enough to make a prediction regarding Saturday's game against USC.

Rowe has seen plenty of tape of USC receiver Robert Woods nabbing 17 receptions for 177 yards against Minnesota and vows that won't happen against the Utes.

"That was amazing," he said. "But that isn't going to happen with us."

It had better not, or Saturday's contest against the Trojans could turn into a very long night for the Utes.

The problem is, the Utes still have more inexperience than game savviness in their secondary.

How Rowe and his young teammates will hold up against a seasoned quarterback such as USC's Matt Barkley and his receivers is a big question for the Utes.

"It's going to be a good test for us, to say the least," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.

Montana State quarterback DeNarius McGhee was 16-for-29 for 183 yards against the Utes. But as good as McGhee is, Barkley is at another level as a quarterback.

In his third year as a starter, the junior is sixth on the school's passing list, with 480 completions, and is seventh in total offense with 5,380 yards.

In addition to Woods, Barkley's frequent targets are juniors Brandon Carswell and Brice Butler and freshman Marqise Lee.

The group is a tough task for any secondary to stop, let alone one as young and green as Utah's. Thursday's 27-10 win over Montana State was the first career start for all of Utah's starters in the secondary.

Safeties coach Morgan Scalley acknowledged his players must grow up fast, pointing out that Barkley is just one of several highly rated quarterbacks the Utes face this year.

However, he saw promise in Thursday's win and believes the Utes have what it takes to compete.

"This is what you recruit for and practice for," he said. "Our guys are excited, but they are taking on the thought that you respect everyone but fear no one."

While Woods will be Utah's biggest concern, both Whittingham and Scalley said the Utes can't focus too much on one player.

"You can't compensate too much or you will expose yourself in other areas," Whittingham said. "You have to make sure you understand all of a team's strengths."

Rowe might still be green on the field, but he and the other secondary players have put in extra time of film study on their own to help them prepare for Saturday.

He feels he and his teammates will be ready.

"They've got some athletes," he said. "We know they are more athletic than Montana State was, and it will be a challenge." —

Matt Barkley's top targets

Robert Woods • 6-1, 180, So. Had 115 receiving yards in first half of the opener.

Brandon Carswell • 6-1, 190, Sr. Has only 3 starts in his career.

Brice Butler • 6-4, 195, Jr.

32 career catches with 3 TDs.

Marqise Lee • 6-0, 190, Fr.

Had five catches for 32 yards against Minnesota.