USC vs. Utah scores, takeaway: Utes dominate, Trojans defend Pac-12 title, claim Rose Bowl berth

Do not. 11. Utah played the spoiler role in Friday night’s 47-24 win over the No. 1 pick. 4 USC in the 2022 Pac-12 championship game. The guts of the Trojans, which saw the Utes rush past their Pac-12 foes and capitalize on the multiple injuries suffered by star quarterback Caleb Williams, not only got Utah to the Rose Bowl for the second straight season, it also beat USC and The Pac-12 as a whole is out of the College Football Playoff.

While that won’t be confirmed until Sunday, the two-loss Trojans are unlikely to see four teams lose to the Utes this season. Projected to replace USC is No. 5 Ohio State, which lost only to No. 1. 2 Michigan.

USC took a 17-3 lead in the first half on a strong performance from Williams. As the race wore on, however, the Heisman Trophy favorite slowed down under the weight of two injuries. That opened the door for Utah to bounce back from a 14-point deficit before halftime and outscore USC 30-7 in the second half.

When the Utes beat the Trojans 43-42 in October. 15. Tight end Dalton Kincaid is one of Utah’s heroes.But with Kincaid slowed down Friday night by a lower back injury, a variety of roles have been a threat in quarterback Cam Rising’s passing game.

After scoring five touchdowns in their first encounter with the Trojans, Rising was again strong, including second-half touchdown passes of 57 yards to Monie Parks and 60 yards to Thomas Yasmin. Neither player was the Utes’ number one target during the regular season, but they both played huge roles in Kinkade’s reduced role. Ja’Quinden Jackson scored a 53-yard touchdown with 5:29 left to seal the win.

Otherwise, the story is Williams. The second-year star threw for two touchdowns and ran for an incredible 59 yards in the first quarter alone. He looked unstoppable. However, a broken pinky finger on his throwing hand and a bruised left leg severely limited his mobility and accuracy for the remainder of the game. If he slows down, the Trojan slows down too.

CBS Sports will update this story shortly with highlights from the game.

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