News & Analysis

College Football: Week 4 Pac-12 Takeaways

Sep 20, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (6) celebrates his touchdown during the second half Utah Utes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The fourth week of action is upon us and with the #Pac12AfterDark games starting early this week on Friday, we take a look at some of the interesting and most noteworthy takeaways from the Pac-12 conference.

USC Trojans

— Third-string QB Matt Fink was thrust into action after true freshman Kedon Slovis was knocked out of the game after throwing just two passes in the first quarter against Utah.
— In the first true playing time of his career, Fink did not disappoint, completing 21-of-30 passes for 351 yards (11.7 yards per attempt), three touchdowns against one interception. He finished with a passing grade of 90.0, an elite mark.
— Despite losing his second quarterback of the season, WR Michael Pittman Jr. had arguably the best game of his career, hauling in 10 receptions for 232 yards that included a 77-yard touchdown.
— Fellow receivers Tyler Vaughns and Amon-Ra St. Brown were also impressive against the Utes, as Vaughns caught five balls for 68 yards and a touchdown while St. Brown and four for 49 yards and a touchdown.
— The offensive line provided time for its new quarterback and was decent in pass protection outside of left tackle Austin Jackson who gave up four of the line's nine total pressures.
— On the defensive side of the ball, the team overall struggled with missed tackles but saw impressive performances from safety Talanoa Hufanga (11 solo tackles, six defensive stops) and LB Palaie Gaoteote IV, who had nine solo tackles and five defensive stops

Utah Utes

— Senior QB Tyler Huntley and the 10th-ranked Utes weren't spectacular on the evening as Huntley did what he could, going 22-of- 30 through the air for 210 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Huntley added 18 carries for 60 yards on the ground, forcing five missed tackles.
— Star running back Zach Moss went down in the second quarter with a shoulder injury (had 6 carries for 20 yards and two missed tackles forced before injury), forcing sophomore Devin Brumfield to try and fill the void.
— In Moss’ absence, Brumfield had 10 carries for 63 yards but 30 of those yards came on a long run early in the second (first carry of the night) leaving him with nine rushes for 33 yards (3.66 YPA) and a lost fumble.
— Another huge reason for the offense's struggles, the offensive line gave up 17 pressures (one sack, three hits), providing little time for Huntley in the pocket.
— A bright spot on defense, edge defender Bradlee Anae finished with five total pressures, three more than any other defender on the Utes defense.
— Interior defensive lineman Leki Fotu had a stout game up the middle, finishing with an elite overall grade and recording two defensive stops while forcing a fumble in the second quarter.
— The Utah defensive backs had certainly their worst game of the season as Javelin Guidry, Tareke Lewis and Jaylon Johnson each allowed a touchdown in coverage and the defense, as a team, allowed a 71.9% completion percentage on the evening.

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