LAS VEGAS—For the second consecutive year the No. 8 Utah Utes are PAC-12 Champions, defeating the No .4 USC Trojans 47-24, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Friday, December 2. USC’s dreams of earning a spot in the College Football playoffs were not realized, as the Trojans dominated early in the 1st quarter 17-3.
Utah outscored USC 44 to 7 at the start of the second quarter. Utes players stood victorious on the podium holding red roses in their teeth as Utah will play in their second straight Rose Bowl.
“The Granddaddy Of Them All” will be an intriguing matchup between the Utah Utes and the Penn State Nittany Lions.
After USC lost to Utah, that freed up the Big Ten’s slot in the Rose Bowl to go to Penn State.
Utah Quarterback Cam Rising completed 22 of his 34 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns. Parks and Yassmin had only six catches between them, but had 169 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Jackson finished with 105 rushing yards on 13 carries, two of them touchdowns including a back breaking 53-yard brutal run into the end zone putting the game out of reach.
USC hoped to avenge their loss to Utah, a 43-42 PAC-12 in October. Heisman hopeful Williams was remarkable, on back-to-back plays, he found Tahj Washington for 50 yards and then a two-yard score, putting USC up 7-0 early.
The Utes answered with a field goal, but USC answered right back with another touchdown, this one by Raleek Brown for three yards with the benefit of a 59-yard rush for Williams on the second play of the drive.
Williams injured his hamstring on the 59-yard scramble, where he was hobbling and unable to use his adept speed outside of the pocket. Utah’s enormous stout defensive line crushed an injured Williams where it was difficult to view.
USC Head Coach Lincoln Riley immediately turned the program around in his first season, but probably should have removed Williams from the game much earlier.
In the third quarter, Utah took charge of the game. On 3rd and 19 from their own 43, Rising hit Money Parks on a slant, and after he broke a tackle, he was off to the races and took it to the house. This gave Utah its first lead after trailing by two touchdowns.
The Trojans will be playing in the Cotton Bowl against Tulane. Utah meanwhile will be making their second trip to the Rose Bowl. Utah will face No. 11 Penn State at 1 p.m. on Monday, January 2, 2023, at the Rose Bowl Stadium.