Utah hopes to bounce back against USC

Utah faces 12th-ranked Trojans for Pac-12 South lead

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) - After suffering its first loss of the season this past weekend against Stanford, the Utes now have to prepare for #12 USC this Saturday in the Coliseum for what could be a game that decides the Pac-12 South title.

"We move on," head coach Kyle Whittingham said. "We're still in good shape in the big picture. Obviously, we were in great shape before that game."

Nobody took the loss to Stanford harder than Troy Williams. After throwing two fourth quarter interceptions, he said all of Utah nation probably hates him.

"I took it hard," Williams said. "I'm my biggest critic. I didn't have a good game, and that had a huge impact with how it turned out. But now I just have to bounce back."

With starting quarterback Tyler Huntley still recovering from a shoulder injury, Whittingham is opening up the quarterback competition between Williams and Cooper Bateman.

"Tyler's status is still up in the air," Whittingham said. "If he's not able, we will make sure we give both guys a shot between Troy and Cooper and see who comes away with it."

Whoever starts, they have to get the ball to wide receiver Darren Carrington more, who is being double covered on almost every play.

"It's a little frustrating," said Carrington, who still had seven catches for 99 yards and a touchdown against Stanford. "But nobody should be able to double team me or my side and not pay for it. We've got so many great receivers over here."

The Utes beat USC last year at Rice-Eccles Stadium, 31-27, in Sam Darnold's first start at quarterback for the Trojans. Since then, Darnold has lost just one game while developing into an elite player.

"He is absolutely one of the best quarterbacks in the country," Whittingham said. "In my opinion, he should still be a Heisman candidate. From where is now to where he was when we first saw him, you can just see him getting better and better."

With the game televised in prime time on ABC, this is great exposure for the Utes program.

"It can be a big positive, particularly if you play well," Whittingham said. "If you have a good showing, win the game, it can have a big impact."

Utah and USC kick off at 6:00 p.m. Saturday night on ABC-4.

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