(3) Utah at USC
Spread: USC -6.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
Utah is the team when it comes to picking off passes. It now is one of four teams with 13 INTs and Southern California QB Cody Kessler has already had a tough time preventing picks. No. 3 Utah will travel to face Kessler and the Trojans in a game it finds itself 6.5 point dogs in.
The Utes are hoping to improve to 7-0 and is already 3-0 in Pac-12 play. It has the No. 2 best turnover margin at plus-12, and S Marcus Williams has four INTS, while CB Dominique Hatfield has three.
HC Kyle Whittingham said, “We have some guys back there (in the secondary) with very good ball skills and probably the most important thing (is) when those opportunities come along, you capitalize on them.”
Kessler had thrown for 73 percent through his first four contests, but in the last two losses he has been good for just 61.3 percent. He has also thrown four INTs with just two TDs over that span, and the Trojans have fallen to 3-3 on the season. It may be without WRs Darreus Rogers and Steven Mitchell Jr., both of whom sat out of practice on Tuesday. Rogers missed the second half of Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame, as he battled a hammy issue. Mitchell nursed an ankle injury and sat the game out.
Jalen Greene has converted from QB to WR, and he is facing hamstring issues too. The Trojans need some options behind JuJu Smith Schuster, though he has 758 yards and leads the Pac-12.
USC also has the conferences’ fifth-worst rush attack with just 173.3 yards per game. The Utes allow only 113.5, so the Trojans backfield might not produce much this week.
The Utes are 7-0 and outscored Arizona State 20-0 in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 34-18 win. Devontae Booker is No. 3 in the conference with 130.5 rushing yards per game, and he had 118 yards including a pair of TD runs in the fourth. He leads the team with 23 catches, too. Booker rushed for 102 yards with a TD in the 24-21 win over USC last year.
Utah QB Travis Wilson will be without his starting TE Siale Fakailoatonga who is going to miss the rest of the season. Harrison Handley may start in place of him, and he had a TD in last week’s game. Kenneth Scott had 166 receiving yards with a TD, and the Trojans are hoping to avoid its third straight loss at home for the first time since 2000 when it lost five straight.
Under is 6-0 in Utes last 6 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
Utes are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 road games.
Under is 6-1 in Utes last 7 games on grass.
Over is 4-0 in Trojans last 4 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
Trojans are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game.
Under is 6-1 in Trojans last 7 conference games.
Head to Head
Home team is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.