SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The largest crowd in Rice-Eccles Stadium history saw maybe the biggest and most thrilling win in Rice-Eccles history, as the Utes stormed back to beat #7 USC Saturday night, 43-42.
Cameron Rising threw for 415 yards, ran for three touchdowns and scampered up the middle for a go-ahead two-point conversion with 48 seconds left in No. 20 Utah’s 43-42 victory over No. 7 Southern California on Saturday night.
Rising rushed a yard for a touchdown on fourth down to set up the deciding conversion.
“We were going to keep the ball in Cam’s hands,” Utes coach Kyle Whittingham said. “And if we score and time is close to expiring, we were going for 2, no question.”
Caleb Williams threw for 381 yards and five touchdowns for Southern California (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12). Utah (5-2, 3-1) held the Trojans on their last-ditch drive, handing them their first loss as a record crowd of 53,609 shook Rice-Eccles Stadium and then flooded the field.
The Utes needed every one of Rising’s big plays with his legs and his arm during his career night. Rising, who was once committed to current USC coach Lincoln Riley when he was at Oklahoma, became the first Utah QB to throw for 400 yards since Brian Johnson had 417 against San Diego State in 2005.
Dalton Kincaid had 15 catches for 217 yards, the most for a Ute since Carl Harry had 255 yards in 1988, and the most ever by a Utah tight end.
“He’s an absolute athlete, one of the best tight ends in the country and tough as nails,” Whittingham said.
“He’s an easy guy to throw the ball to,” Rising said. “When he touches the ball that often, he make plays, he extends them. He’s a player.”
Southern Cal’s Mario Williams had four catches for 145 yards and Jordan Addison had seven receptions for 106 yards before an ankle injury took him out of the game.
Against an all-out blitz, Williams connected with Michael Jackson III, who stepped through a tackle for a 20-yard touchdown with 6:15 to play for a 42-35 lead. It was Jackson’s first catch of the season.
Utah has won 23 of its last 24 home games, including a streak of 12 in a row.
The Utes dedicated the game to Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe, former players who died within a year of each other. In the locker room after the game, the team presented the game ball to the fallen players’ mothers in a poignant moment. Both players wore jersey number 22.
“We wanted to make sure we represented 22 well,” Rising said as the Utes had hand-painted portraits of Jordan and Lowe on their black helmets. “We had an unwavering belief. Having Ty and Aaron on your helmet made it that much easier to go.”
Addison, the 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner at Pittsburgh as the nation’s top receiver, had seven catches for 106 yards but hurt his ankle on a reverse in the third quarter.
The Trojans were prolific on offense, but the defense couldn’t stop Rising, especially when it counted. Key penalties often stymied the Trojans when they had opportunities to take a commanding lead.
“Their team is full of explosive players,” said linebacker Karene Reid. “But they have to play for four quarters and that showed the resiliency of our team.”
Rising willed the Utes to the win but the defense was gashed by the Trojans. Utah defenders often took poor angles against USC’s speed. Utah turned almost exclusively to the passing game as the running game was stuffed, except for Rising’s power runs.
Utah now has a bye week before playing at Washington State October 27th.