(24) Utah

Fri, Sep 23
Fox Sports 1
6:00 PM Pacific
Rotation: 309
Odds: Utah -3, Total: 46.5

Game Analysis

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UTAH (-3)  24   Usc  23

USC is making a change at quarterback, replacing junior Max Browne with freshman Sam Darnold. I expect that change to pump a bit more excitement into the USC offense, as Browne too often settled for short, easy throws rather than throwing the ball down the field. That led to a ridiculously low 8.6 yards per completion. Part of that was due to facing 3 good defensive teams in Alabama, Utah State and Stanford – who don’t give up many big plays. However, those 3 teams have combined to allow 11.4 ypc this season so Browne was still far short of average in his yards per completion. Darnold has played attempted at least 7 passes in every game and has completed 14 of 22 passes while averaging 6.2 yards per pass play (just 4.7 yppp for Browne) – but he also has a low 9.7 ypc average. It’s not likely that it’s an issue with receivers not getting open downfield, as every receiver from last year’s team returned and that group averaged 12.2 yards per catch in 2015. Utah has a very good pass defense so this game will certainly be a test for Darnold – but I do expect a higher level of play from the USC pass attack tonight.

USC’s running game should also be better than it’s been against so far against three very good run defenses, as Utah has not been good defending the ground attack so far. The Utes have allowed 5.2 yards per rushing play to teams that would combine to average only 4.6 yprp against an average defense. My model projects 5.4 yprp for USC in this game and a good ground attack should help take the pressure off of Darnold.

USC’s defense has actually been pretty decent so far, as the 5.9 yards per play the Trojans have allowed have come against a schedule of teams that would average 6.3 yppl against an average team. Utah’s offense has been just average when factoring in their schedule and the Utes averaged a modest 5.6 yppl in their only game against a decent defensive team (BYU). My ratings favor Utah by only 1 point in this game, so I’ll lean with USC at +3 points or more.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • USC
  • Utah


  • Run Plays 31.6 38.2
  • Run Yards 149.0 170.6
  • YPRP 5.0 4.8


  • Pass Comp 22.2 17.0
  • Pass Att 34.0 28.4
  • Comp % 65.3% 59.9%
  • Pass Yards 245.8 205.4
  • Sacks 1.4 1.6
  • Sack Yards 8.2 12.6
  • Sack % 4.0% 5.3%
  • Pass Plays 35.4 30.0
  • Net Pass Yards 237.6 192.8
  • YPPP 6.7 6.4


  • Total Plays 67.0 68.2
  • Total Yards 394.8 376.0
  • YPPL 5.9 5.5


  • Int 0.6 0.8
  • Int % 1.8% 2.8%
  • Fumbles 0.6 0.4
  • Turnovers 1.2 1.2
  • Points 25.8 27.4
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