SALT LAKE CITY -- It was a nail-biter in Salt Lake City Friday night as the University of Utah rallied back from a 14-point deficit to beat the USC Trojans in the waning minutes of the game.
That victory had special meaning for Utah quarterback Troy Williams.
“USC, that’s my hometown,” Williams said. “Growing up watching Reggie Bush, Carson Palmer and Mike Williams and all those dudes, just sitting at home watching on TV and imagining maybe one day I’ll play with them or against them. Today was that day”
Things got off to a good start for Utah in their first conference match-up of the season, as they forced a fumble on USC's opening drive and capitalized on the turnover for a touchdown.
But USC jumped right back into things with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Adoree' Jackson. Utah took the lead in the second quarter with a field goal, but USC answered with a touchdown and field goal of their own to take a 17-10 lead into halftime.
The Trojans' lead grew to 24-10 after Utah's first drive of the second half ended in a punt. The Utes' second drive culminated in a fumble in the end zone, which was scooped up by Utah's Isaac Asiata to make it 24-17.
"Those are the games you grow up, you play video games against USC,” Asiata, an offensive lineman, said. “Those are the ones you dream about as a little kid, playing teams like that and winning."
Utah held USC to a field goal on their next drive, then responded with a touchdown to close the gap to 27-24 USC with 9:45 to go in the fourth quarter.
The home team's defense came up strong, stopping the Trojans and forcing a punt to give the Utah offense a shot at finishing off the comeback.
Utah drove down the field, and after a 14-yard pass on a crucial 3rd-and-15 they converted on fourth down with a rush from Armand Shyne. A short while later, Utah faced another 4th-and-1, this time in field goal range.
Still, Utah did not take the kick that would have sent them into overtime, instead opting for a run from Zack Moss for 5 yards and a new set of downs. Troy Williams completed an 18-yard pass to Tim Patrick on the next play to give Utah the 31-27 lead.
“Big-time players make big-time plays,” said Patrick, who finished with six receptions for 100 yards.
That 15-play, 93-yard scoring drive was enough to secure the win for Utah, who improves to 4-0 on the season. The Utes play next on October 1, when they will travel to Berkeley to take on Cal.