The game ball belonged to kicker Andre Heidari, who atoned for his struggles earlier in the season by setting a new career high in field goals.  Both teams moved the ball with some success near the middle of the field but constantly stalled or donated turnovers when a touchdown came within sight.  Utah quarterback Travis Wilson could not solve USC’s stingy defense as well as he had Stanford’s more heralded defense.  The Utes have shown themselves much more dangerous at home than on the road, and their own defense struggled to stop wide receiver Nelson Agholor on key third-down plays.  A deeper set of offensive playmakers took the pressure of USC quarterback Cody Kessler, while counterpart Travis Wilson shouldered a heavier burden.  The two teams combined for one total touchdown, belonging to the Trojans.

For the second time this year, the USC defense kept an opponent out of the end zone.  In contrast to their anemic tilt against Washington State, that performance translated into a win for this beleaguered team.  The Trojans diluted the disappointment from their tight loss to Notre Dame a week before and stayed somewhat within range of UCLA and Arizona State in the South Division.  A perplexing Utah squad still has recorded only one conference victory this year, their miraculous upset at home over Stanford.  They still look unready to compete with the Pac-12 elite on a weekly basis, and their bowl eligibility remains uncertain with challenging games against Oregon and Arizona State still ahead.