In the first of two gut checks for the USC Trojans (5-1), the Utah Utes (4-1) come into Los Angeles looking to dethrone the Trojans’ plans of a dark horse bid for the College Football Playoff.
Utah will be without starting quarterback Tyler Huntley for the second straight week — Troy Williams struggled against Stanford last week in the Utes’ first loss and will likely lineup under center against USC.
As for the Trojans, they’re coming off a 38-7 vacation cruise of a win over Oregon State — a bounce-back performance after falling to Washington State.
USC is in the midst of a gauntlet — Utah this week, Notre Dame next. So if the Trojans can survive a formidable Utah squad, they’ll be in a position to earn their way back into the CFP conversation.
USC-Utah football TV channel, time, live stream
Time: 5 p.m.
Live Stream: WatchESPN
USC-Utah football picks, odds
Line: USC (-13.5)
USC-Utah keys to the game for the Trojans
The Utah defense is stingy and opportunistic. The Utes have 14 total takeaways this season, tied for 7th amongst all FBS teams.
Meanwhile, USC quarterback Sam Darnold has struggled to limit his turnovers, throwing 9 interceptions so far in 2017. Utah’s offense won’t be explosive without starting quarterback Tyler Huntley — Troy Williams is expected to make his second-straight start in lieu of the injured Huntley, and Williams struggled against the Stanford defense.
Darnold and the rest of the Trojans’ offense, while not losing its identity with regards to pace, needs move methodically and purposefully. There shouldn’t be any need for risky decisions.
If the Trojans can win the field position battle and not give the Utes’ any freebies, they’ll be just fine.
Put Troy Williams under pressure
Utah has given up just 8 sacks in 2017, while USC’s defense has dialed up 18.
The Utes want to give Williams every opportunity to buy time and hedge his ability compared to Huntley’s. Instead, the Trojans shouldn’t fear bring six or even seven defenders in to pressure Williams regularly. Force the backup quarterback to make snap decisions on the road — that’s generally a solid recipe.
The post USC-Utah football: TV channel, time, live stream, odds, picks (October 14, 2017) appeared first on Diehards.