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LOS ANGELES, CA -- Coming off a lackluster performance against Montana State, the Utes entered the iconic Coliseum for the Pac-12 inaugural game against the USC Trojans, keeping the game close, but ultimately falling short in the last seconds of the game.
The Trojans escaped the nail-biting finish to beat the Utes 17-14 off of a blocked field goal attempt with 11 seconds left in the game.
With no timeouts left on their final drive, the Utes were given numerous opportunities to win the game. As the game drew to an end, the Utes had 11 seconds on third down, choosing a field goal attempt to tie up the game.
But why the field goal attempt on third down with the clock running? Spiking the ball would have seemed to be the most logical approach to this situation, giving the Utes a full clock to set up and make the field goal.
Utah was given five key opportunities in the fourth quarter to put some points on the board, but struggled to get first downs. Jordan Wynn looked rushed and had troubles throwing the ball.
Although Wynn's mental toughness was called into question coming into the game, the lingering question following Utah's loss is about Wynn's passing abilities. There were moments where Wynn and DeVonte Christopher connected, but struggled, to say the least, to find the open man. Can Wynn lead the Utes through the Pac-12 or will Utah have to wait for another quarterback to step up?
Despite the struggles on offense and defense, the Utes showed they can hang with a Pac-12 team. The real test will come when Utah enters the rigors of the back-to-back competition that will come as they make their way through the schedule. But there are positive aspects of Utah's game, especially against some of the best talent in the country.
Last week it was John White with a breakout game to keep the Utes alive. This week it was Devonte Christopher. Christopher is Utah's best receiver, no question.
Christopher averaged 12.4 yards per catch, making sometimes impossible plays to keep the Utes offense alive. Had it not been for Christopher's play-making skills, Utah would have struggled immensely against the Trojans.
Although White picked up his game going into the second half, USC stifled his run game. If Utah can put together a consistent run and passing game each week, it will be hard to stop White and Christopher.
With a loss this early in the season against a formidable team, can Utah shake off the remnants of the USC game to take on rival BYU? The one thing Utah has going into next week's game is their close battle to the end, while BYU seemingly gave up a golden opportunity to beat Texas.
Both teams will look for redemption next week, but how much will Saturday's heart-breaking losses play into their preparation?