The USC Trojans gave a valiant effort last weekend against a very solid Notre Dame team on the road, but couldn’t quite come away with the victory as the Irish came out on top, 41-31. Despite the loss, the Trojans showed marked improvement from the previous week’s 17-12 loss to Washington, especially considering there was a head coaching change mid-week with the firing of Steve Sarkisian and offensive coordinator Clay Helton taking over.
With an entire week to prepare for the No.3 Utah Utes, Helton had his team ready to go on Saturday night, and the Trojans pulled the massive upset by a score of 42-24. USC was led by linebacker Cameron Smith who picked off Utah quarterback Travis Wilson three times, including one that he ran back for a touchdown. Juju Smith-Schuster had eight catches for 143 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Cody Kessler was 21-for-28 for 264 yards and a touchdown without throwing an interception.
The victory is huge for the program as a loss would’ve dropped the Trojans to a 3-4 record with a road trip to California coming up next week. Now with a win against one of the top teams in the country, USC’s confidence should be flying sky-high heading into that game, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Trojans come back from Berkeley with another big win.
Aside from next week, and possibly Nov. 21 at Oregon, the Trojans could be favored in all of their remaining games. If Helton can lead the team to a 9-3 or 8-4 record, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be the top candidate for the job despite the high-profile candidates on the current list.