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Just like that, Utah is back in the Pac-12 race.

You could argue that the Utes were never out of it, but after last Saturday’s 43-42 victory over previously unbeaten USC, they’re in a great spot.

This week, Utah is idle before taking on Washington State next Thursday.

That win over the Trojans, before the largest crowd in school history, will live in Utes football lore.

“What a great win for our program,” said coach Kyle Whittingham. “It was one of those nights that was very special.”

Still, there’s plenty for Utah to work on during the bye week.

“The defense, we didn’t play very well. That’s two weeks in a row now,” he said. “But we got the key stop we needed to.”

The Utes (5-2, 3-1) are now ranked No. 15. They’re hoping that No. 10 Oregon can beat No. 9 UCLA this weekend. The Bruins handed Utah its lone conference loss.

This should be a fun Pac-12 race as we approach the final stretch.

In case you missed it

The Utes were devastated when Brant Kuithe went down with a season-ending injury.

In his absence, Dalton Kincaid has helped fill that void. Against USC, Kincaid caught 16 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown.

“Sixteen targets and 16 catches?” Whittingham said, “I mean, that’s absurd.”

“They simply could not cover Kincaid,” wrote Deseret News columnist Doug Robinson. “Every time the Utes needed a big play, quarterback Cam Rising went to Kincaid. Eleven of Kincaid’s 16 catches went for first downs and another went for a touchdown. Six of his last seven catches came on third down. All but one of his 10 second-half catches resulted in a first down or a touchdown. He had four catches on the final, game-winning drive.”

Numbers game

16: Times Dalton Kincaid was targeted by quarterback Cam Rising against USC.

16: Catches by Kincaid against the Trojans.

234: Receiving yards by Kincaid against USC.  

From the archives

What will be Utah’s focus during the bye week?
How No. 20 Utah beat No. 7 USC in a thriller, remained alive in the Pac-12 race

Extra points

  • This former Utah quarterback is back in the transfer portal (Deseret News)
  • How national voices reacted to Utah’s win over USC (Deseret News)
  • Fresh off ‘sheer grit’ victory over USC, No. 15 Utah heads into a well-earned bye week (Deseret News)
  • How high did Utah rise in the polls after handing USC its first loss? (Deseret News)
  • 3 takeaways from Utah’s epic win over USC (Deseret News)

Fanalyst

“That was one of the most explosive football games I’ve ever seen. Both teams, just lights out on offense, and I don’t heap the blame on the Ds for that as much as others. They were just that good offensively. Rising is a stud, and he’s a lot stronger than he looks. That dude just plain gets it done, and he’s a perfect fit for Ludwig’s complex schemes. And going for two? That took some brazen brass. Kincaid is a pro already, and Vele is looking like he’s developing into one of the better receivers in the West, and dude’s got deceptive speed. I liked seeing Parks get the ball, and Bernard is also tough as nails.”

— gadiantonchief

“Rising’s comments about the power from the memories of Ty and Aaron on their helmets is a great example of taking tragedies that shook everyone and galvanizing 100 young men, under great leadership.

“When he’s done with football, Rising could make a lot of money playing poker, because there is never anything but calm and sometimes joy and amusement on his face.

“The Utes will need the coming BYE week, because that was an emotional high you just can’t replicate and forget about every week.”

— 10CC

Up next

Oct. 20 | 6 p.m. | Soccer | vs. USC | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

Oct. 21 | 7 p.m. | Volleyball | vs. Oregon | @Eugene, Oregon

Oct. 23 | Noon | Soccer | vs. UCLA | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

Oct. 23 | 1 p.m. | Volleyball | vs. Oregon State | @Corvallis, Oregon | OSU Live Stream

Oct. 27 | 8 p.m. | Football | vs. Washington State | @Pullman, Washington | FS1

A fan takes a selfie with Utah quarterback Cameron Rising after Utah defeated USC at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. Utah won 43-42. | dScott G Winterton, Deseret News