Oct 21, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Utah Utes running back Ja'Quinden Jackson (3) carries the ball against the Southern California Trojans in the first half at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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No. 14 Utah sneaks past No. 18 USC on game-winning FG

Bryson Barnes went 14-of-23 passing for 235 yards with three touchdowns, and his 26-yard run set up Cole Becker’s game-winning, 38-yard field goal as time expired to lift No. 14 Utah to a 34-32 win over No. 18 Southern California on Saturday night in Los Angeles.

Utah (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) fell behind 32-31 with 1:46 remaining, moments after Zachariah Branch set up USC in the red zone with a 61-yard punt return.

The Trojans (6-2, 4-1) scored on their first snap of the ensuing possession when Caleb Williams ran 11 yards for a touchdown. It was Williams’ first and only score of the night, as Utah limited the reigning Heisman Trophy winner to 256 yards on 24-of-34 passing and 27 rushing yards.

The Utes denied the Trojans on their two-point conversion attempt before taking over for the game-winning drive.

Bear Alexander was flagged for targeting on a third-down hit on Barnes, resulting in a Utah first down near midfield. Shortly after a fourth-down conversion to extend the drive, Barnes broke loose for the long carry that set up Becker’s game-winning field goal.

Alexander committed another costly penalty, unnecessary roughness, in the third quarter to give Utah a fresh set of downs, which resulted in a 6-yard Barnes TD pass to Landen King.

Barnes’ third touchdown pass came on a 15-yard connection with Sione Vaki, capping a possession that was set up by Cole Bishop’s recovery of a MarShawn Lloyd fumble at the Utah 45. The ensuing 55-yard drive gave Utah a two-touchdown lead at 28-14.

The scoring reception was Vaki’s second of the night after a 53-yarder that began the game’s scoring. Vaki, a safety who stepped in at running back on Saturday, caught five passes for 149 yards.

He added 68 yards rushing on nine carries, complementing Barnes’ 57 yards on 10 rushes and Ja’Quinden Jackson’s game-high 117 yards on 26 touches. Utah outgained USC 247-145 on the ground.

Lloyd led USC with 86 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Branch scored on a goal-line carry.

USC cut into the two-touchdown deficit with a 44-yard Denis Lynch field goal, then Calen Bullock returned an interception of Barnes 30 yards for a Trojans touchdown.

The USC defense held Utah to a 33-yard Becker field goal on a Utes drive into the red zone, which kept the Trojans within a one-possession margin. Lynch’s 36-yard field goal on the following drive helped set the stage for the raucous finish and late lead changes.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
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