- Garry Paskwietz, Publisher, WeAreSC.com
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Stat of half: 2 quick turnovers for USC
USC had turnovers on the first two possessions of the game and Utah was up 14-0 within a matter of minutes. It was exactly the kind of start the Utes had been hoping for in front of the enthusiastic home crowd. Both plays -- a strip and a forced fumble -- were caused by Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who quickly showed the Trojans why he is considered one of the elite players in the country.
Player of half: Matt Barkley
The Trojans were rocked by the shaky start but Barkley settled the team down. After going down 14-0, Barkley began the next drive by converting a key third-down completion. The drive ended up going 75 yards in eight plays before a Silas Redd touchdown run. Barkley ended the half by completing 12 of 15 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
What’s working: The USC offense
Outside of the two turnovers that were turned into scores, the Trojans have really gotten off to a nice start on offense and have outscored Utah 24-7 since that point. USC has 190 yards and have held the ball for 17:21.
What’s not working: Penalties
It’s one thing to have a big-time opponent like Lotulelei cause havoc -- it’s another to self-inflict damage with penalties. The Trojans had nine penalties for 60 yards in the opening half.
Turning point: Utah touchdown called back due to penalty
With the Trojans up 24-21 and time running out in the first half, the Utes completed a trick play for a touchdown pass but were called for an ineligible man downfield. The play would have given Utah an emotional burst going into the locker room (not to mention the lead), but instead they had to settle for a field goal attempt which was blocked by Randall Telfer.
5dChantel Jennings and Kevin Gemmell