When Utah played at USC one year ago, it was the Utes’ first game after the tragic death of cornerback Aaron Lowe.

Utah claimed an inspired 42-26 victory and earned its first victory in Los Angeles over the Trojans in 105 years. 

Of course, the Utes went on to capture their first Pac-12 championship and played in their first Rose Bowl. 

The turning point in the win over USC came late in the first half, with Utah leading 14-10. 

The Utes were planning to run the ball, then stop the clock and attempt a field goal. But the coaches noticed that quarterback Cam Rising had the offense in the wrong formation.

Coach Kyle Whittingham called a timeout and asked what was happening. Rising said he thought the coaches had called a flea flicker. 

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So that’s the play the Utes ran.

Rising ended up completing a 37-yard touchdown pass to Devaughn Vele on the flea flicker with 10 seconds remaining in the half. Utah cruised from there.

“That was a huge momentum play. Getting that momentum going was gigantic,” Whittingham said after the game. “Wish we could take credit for that play, but it was Cam Rising misreading the wrist band and us finding out about it and then sticking with it because it seemed like the right thing to do.”

When the game ended, the Utes celebrated. 

“It’s a breath of fresh air after what we’ve been through to see their sheer enjoyment. That’s the best way to describe it,” Whittingham said. “They obviously had Ty and Aaron on their mind. That’s going to be a constant the rest of the season, just keeping their memory alive. To see them have the success they had tonight was great. I think this team needed that.” 

This week, Vele remembered that historic win. 

“Everybody talks about how we snapped that 100-year streak of not winning at the Coliseum,” he said. “But I feel like it was deeper than that. It was about Ty and Aaron.”


Utes on the air

No. 7 USC (6-0, 4-0)

at No. 20 Utah (4-2, 2-1)

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Saturday, 6 p.m. MDT

Rice-Eccles Stadium

TV: Fox

Radio: ESPN 700

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