USC skid continues as Trojans lose to Utah in Los Angeles for first time since 1916

USC quarterback Kedon Slovis gets slammed to the turf by Utah's Mika Tafua.
USC quarterback Kedon Slovis gets slammed to the turf by Utah’s Mika Tafua in the first half at the Coliseum Saturday.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

USC had no answer for Utah during the second half, falling 42-26 to the Utes at the Coliseum Saturday night.

USC continues to play its worst football at home, falling to Utah for the first time at the Coliseum and first time overall in Los Angeles since 1916.

USC loses third straight conference home game

USC’s pattern of inconsistency continued Saturday with a 42-26 loss to Utah the Coliseum.

The Trojans have yet to win consecutive games this season and two weeks after a loss to Oregon State that ended a 61-year drought for the Beavers, USC sank to another low, losing to Utah in the Coliseum for the first time ever.

Utah hadn’t beaten USC in Los Angeles since 1916 before the Coliseum was built. This year also marked Oregon State’s first win over USC in L.A. since 1960.

USC quarterback Kedon Slovis finished 33-of-53 passing for 401 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Utah’s Cameron Rising had 306 passing yards and three passing touchdowns, along with a rushing touchdown.

USC’s Drake London finished one catch shy of the school record. The junior had 16 catches for 162 yards and one touchdown. He was held to just five receptions in the second half.


USC scores late with touchdown to Epps

With less than a minute to go, USC scored on a 41-yard touchdown throw from Kedon Slovis to Malcolm Epps, but it’ll be too little, way too late for the Trojans.

They trail 42-26 with 52 seconds to go after Slovis and Epps connected on a successful two-point conversion.

Slovis is 33-of-53 passing for 401 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Epps has 59 receiving yards for two catches.

Drake London, who is one catch away from tying the school record for catches in a game, was not on the field for the last two USC drives. Robert Woods holds the record with 17, set in 2011.


Utah tacks on another touchdown

Just when USC started showing some fight, Utah dealt another body blow to the Trojans with a one-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Rising to Dalton Kincaid.

The Utes now lead 42-18 with 5:34 remaining.

The Trojans are plummeting toward their first loss to Utah in Los Angeles since 1916 and their first loss to the Utes in the Coliseum. Barring a miraculous comeback, the Trojans will have three straight Pac-12 home losses.


USC converts in the red zone

After a dormant third quarter, USC is showing some signs of life.

The Trojans ended Utah’s streak of 28 unanswered points with a two-yard touchdown run from Vavae Malepeai and cut the deficit to 35-18 after scoring on a two-point conversion pass from Kedon Slovis to Tahj Washington. There is 10:04 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Drake London had three catches on the drive and is now just one reception away from the USC single-game record of 17, which was set by Robert Woods in 2011 against Minnesota.


Utah leads big entering fourth quarter

Utah leads 35-10 after three quarters as the Trojans went scoreless in the third.

Utah is outgaining USC 408-338, despite running just 47 plays compared to USC’s 61. The Utes are averaging 8.7 yards per play.

Quarterback Cameron Rising is slicing the Trojan defense up with 264 yards on 18-of-24 passing with two touchdowns and another rushing touchdown. Nine different Utah receivers have caught a pass, led by Britain covey’s five catches for 67 yards.

Kedon Slovis is 26-of-40 passing for 254 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Drake London has 13 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown. USC’s single-game record for receptions is 17, held by Robert Woods.


USC gets a stop. Finally.

USC forced Utah to punt for the first time since the Utes’ first drive of the second quarter. It snapped a streak of four straight touchdown drives for Utah.

The Trojans still trail 35-10, but got their ensuing drive off to a good start with 18- and 23-yard passes to Malcolm Epps and Gary Bryant Jr., respectively, to get them into Utah territory at the 49-yard line.


Utah scores off turnover

Make it four straight touchdowns for Utah.

The Utes scored again off the USC turnover, this time cashing in on a 17-yard run from Cameron Rising. The quarterback kept the ball on a quarterback draw, rushing up the middle and breaking several tackles in the process to put Utah up 35-10 with 9:13 to go in the third.

Utah has now scored 28 unanswered points.

Rising now has three touchdowns, two in the air and one of the ground. He is 16-of-19 passing for 226 yards with 27 rushing yards on four carries.


USC’s gamble ends in turnover

In need of a spark on offense, USC went for it on fourth-and-eight from the Utah 35 and got burned with a Kedon Slovis interception.

Slovis threw the ball toward Michael Trigg, but the receiver was surrounded by three Utah defenders. Predictably, it didn’t end well for the Trojans.

Vonte Davis picked the pass off and ran it back 30 yards to the Utah 45. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Drake London will add 15 yards to the return and give Utah the ball at the USC 40-yard line.

Slovis is 20-of-29 passing for 189 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

London has 12 catches for 133 yards and one touchdown.


Utah strikes quickly in third quarter

Just one drive into the second half, Utah is running away with the game. Literally.

Tavion Thomas ran nearly untouched for a 43-yard touchdown to put the Utes up 28-10 with 12:41 remaining in the third quarter. Utah has now scored 21 straight points on three straight drives.

Utah has 97 rushing yards to USC’s 72 and is outgaining the Trojans 301-225.


USC kicks off to Utah to start second half

USC gave up a touchdown with 10 seconds left in the first half and now give the ball back to the Utah offense to start the second half.

The Utes, with a 21-10 lead, will start at their own 25-yard line.


Utah’s bold choice pays off to finish first half

Utah was less than a yard from getting a first down, but why settle for inches when you can go for a whole 37-yard touchdown.

The Utes put an exclamation point on the first half, scoring a 37-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-one with 10 seconds remaining before halftime. Utah enters the locker room with a 21-10 lead.

Utah’s Devaughn Vele got free behind USC’s secondary for the score and Cameron Rising dropped the ball into the receiver’s hands.

Utah has a slight edge in yardage, outgaining USC 226-225, but goes into the break with touchdowns on each of its last two drives. And the Utes get the ball to start the second half.

Drake London is up to his normal Drake London ways with 11 catches (on 11 targets) for 108 yards and a touchdown in the first half. His career high in receiving yards for a game is 170.

Quarterback Kedon Slovis is 18-of-24 passing for 153 yards and one touchdown. Running back Keaontay Ingram has a team-high 52 yards on 10 carries.

Where the stats really go awry for the Trojans are in the red zone. They had two drives get inside the Utah 20-yard line, but they resulted in just three points.


Utah is Money in the red zone

Utah cashed in on its second drive of the second quarter, scoring a touchdown on a 12-yard pass from Cameron Rising to Money Parks.

The Utes, who lead 14-10 with 3:57 remaining in the second quarter, had a big 42-yard catch from Theo Howard on the drive. That name should sound familiar to Southern California football fans as Howard is a former UCLA receiver who starred at Westlake High.

Another familiar foe also showed up for USC on the drive in the form of a 15-yard defensive pass interference penalty called on Isaiah Pola-Mao. The penalty, which came on the play right after Howard’s reception, moved the Utes into the red zone.


Drake London hurdles defender for touchdown

Drake London is a football star and former USC basketball player, but how about a future hurdler on the track team?

The USC receiver hurdled Utah safety Kamo’i Latu on the way to a 20-yard touchdown catch to put USC up 10-7 with 6:02 remaining in the second quarter.

London now has nine catches for 90 yards and we’re just about halfway through the second quarter. Quarterback Kedon Slovis is 15-of-20 passing for 129 yards and one touchdown.


USC’s red zone struggles continue

USC was forced to settle for another field goal after driving into the red zone, but came away with no points when Parker Lewis’ 34-yard attempt sailed wide right.

Utah still leads 7-3 with 10:41 to go in the second quarter.

USC converted two big third downs on the drive, including a third-and-18. Quarterback Kedon Slovis found Drake London for 20 yards to bring the Trojans to the Utah 19-yard line. They gained only six more yards before having to kick. While USC’s offense is moving the ball well, averaging 5.2 yards per play, the Trojans have yet to find the end zone.


Utah leads after first quarter, but Trojans driving

Utah leads 7-3 at the end of the first quarter, but USC is finding momentum behind its run game.

After giving up a touchdown, the Trojans started the ensuing drive with a 23-yard run from Keaontay Ingram. They will start the second quarter at the Utah 47-yard line.

Ingram, who is coming off a 124-yard performance against Colorado, has 37 rushing yards on four carries. Fellow running back Darwin Barlow has 23 rushing yards on four carries.


Utah scores game’s first touchdown

Utah saw USC’s field goal and raised the Trojans a touchdown.

The Utes take a 7-3 lead off Brant Kuithe’s 11-yard touchdown run with 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

The touchdown capped an eight-play, 75-yard drive for the Utes, who totaled seven yards on their first drive.


USC stalls in red zone

USC is on the board with a 28-yard field foal from Parker Lewis.

The Trojans lead 3-0 with 3:48 to go in the first quarter.

USC attacked the edges of the field with screen passes to start the game, giving Drake London five catches in the first two drives, then handed the ball off four straight times to running back Darwin Barlow. Barlow ran for 23 yards on the plays, including a tough eight-yard run in which he carried the pile an additional five or six yards after initial contact.

Barlow has been bothered by a hamstring injury, but the TCU transfer broke out for 61 yards on 10 carries against Colorado.

London has a team-high five catches for 36 yards.


USC on offense to start

Utah won the toss and deferred to the second half, giving USC the ball first. The Trojans will start at their own 17-yard line with Kedon Slovis at quarterback.

Before kickoff, the teams and fans observed a moment of silence for former Utah defensive back Aaron Lowe, who died two weeks ago in a shooting. Tonight’s game is the first time the Utes have taken the field since Lowe’s death.


USC returns home to luke warm welcome

It doesn’t look like a convincing win over Colorado last weekend is enough to get fans back on the Trojan bandwagon.

With about 10 minutes left before kickoff against Utah, the Coliseum is very empty, outside of a student section that is still filing in. Part of the delay may be a new requirement to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, which is in place for the first time this season. However, I would think that a larger part would be that USC has lost back-to-back home games.

The last time USC played in front of its home fans, the Trojans lost to Oregon State for the first time in L.A. since 1960. Utah is trying to snap an even longer drought, having not beaten USC in L.A. since 1916. The Utes have never won in the Coliseum.


USC vs. Utah: 5 things to watch as the Trojans host the Utes

USC running back Keaontay Ingram celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Oregon State
USC running back Keaontay Ingram celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Oregon State on Sept. 25 at the Coliseum in Los Angeles.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The comforts of home haven’t been comforting to USC this season. The Trojans are 0-2 in Pac-12 games at the Coliseum. If they have any hope of remaining in the conference race, they can’t afford to lose this week. Utah is 2-2, fresh off a bye following its own difficult start to the season, but brings a stout defense to the Coliseum. USC, which enters as a three-point favorite, hasn’t won consecutive games this season, but also hasn’t lost to Utah at home since the Coliseum was built.

“I don’t think anybody should come into your own home and wreak havoc,” wide receiver Drake London said, “so it’s definitely a point made this week.”

Both teams find themselves at a crucial crossroads ahead of Saturday’s 5 p.m. kickoff on Fox.

Ground games

As Keaontay Ingram found his stride last Saturday, averaging more than nine yards per carry, USC’s offense finally seemed to find the balance it sought. With Colorado focused on stopping London, Ingram ran wild, and USC unlocked the full capabilities of its Air Raid offense, surpassing 200 rushing yards for the first time in almost two years.

Striking that balance won’t come so easily this week. Utah’s defense has allowed just 3.56 yards per carry, good for third in the Pac-12, while giving up just two touchdowns, the fewest of any team in the conference. Before its bye last week, Utah held Washington State to a paltry 70 rushing yards.

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USC vs. Utah: College football betting, odds and analysis

USC quarterback Kedon Slovis (9) runs off the field after the Trojans scored a touchdown
USC quarterback Kedon Slovis (9) runs off the field after Trojans running back Keaontay Ingram (28) scored a touchdown against Oregon State at the Coliseum on Sept. 25.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Inconsistency has been the theme of college football across the country this season, and USC has been swept up in that wave as well. After an embarrassing loss to Oregon State in Week 4, the Trojans looked like a totally different team in Week 5 and rolled over Colorado, 37-14.

USC now draws a Utah team that has underwhelmed and underperformed this season, but has also had a lot to contend with on and off the field. This is a tough handicap, as the Trojans have also dealt with the firing of Clay Helton and their up-and-down season.

Will USC break the string of alternating wins and losses and put together a second consecutive good game?

Utah Utes at USC Trojans (-3, 52.5)

Between the lines, this season hadn’t started out as expected for Utah. Baylor transfer Charlie Brewer failed to perform up to expectations and then transferred out of the program, leaving Cameron Rising as the starting QB. This will be something of a homecoming for Rising, a Newbury Park High product who originally signed with Texas. USC never made him an official offer. This game will mean a lot to him.

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Amid breakout season, USC’s Jake Lichtenstein glad he didn’t give up football dream

USC's Jacob Lichtenstein tackles Oregon State's B.J. Baylor
USC’s Jacob Lichtenstein tackles Oregon State’s B.J. Baylor at Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 25.
(Katelyn Mulcahy / Getty Images

Almost two years before he burst loose for a long-awaited breakout performance in Boulder, Colo., Jake Lichtenstein briefly contemplated quitting football altogether.

He’d been on the cusp of establishing himself on USC’s defensive line when he strained his calf as a redshirt sophomore in the summer of 2019. Months later, the pain lingered, and by October, Lichtenstein had lost count of how many times he’d re-injured it. It took months for doctors to provide a proper diagnosis, and during that time, the South Florida native sometimes wondered if it was worth continuing.

“I definitely had thoughts of maybe medically retiring,” Lichtenstein says now.

He was in a dark place then, unsure why his calf continued to fail him, uncertain of what his future held. And for most of the two years that followed, that uncertainty would not abate. There would be more setbacks, more self-doubt and, in 2020, another lost season.

But now, as he looks back at the tumultuous past three years, Lichtenstein can’t help but grin. So much has changed since, down to his now-signature long hair, which is currently pulled into a messy top bun.

“It’s been a journey,” he said Wednesday. “There’s been tons of ups and downs. But I couldn’t be more proud of myself for being here today, sticking through it all.”

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