Utah is smelling roses again.

The Utes are headed back to the Rose Bowl for the second consecutive season after dashing No. 4 USC’s College Football Playoff hopes in a 47-24 Pac-12 championship victory on Friday night.

Here are three takeaways from the Utes’ win:

The fourth quarter

Utah took a 24-17 lead into the fourth quarter.

By the end of the game, it was 47-24, Utah.

In the most vital quarter of the game, the Utes put on their best performance, outscoring the Trojans 23-7 in the final frame.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams was hobbled but cut Utah’s lead to three points early in the fourth. From that point on, the Utes scored three straight touchdowns and didn’t allow a point by USC.


The Utes punished Williams, who couldn’t run — a key part of his arsenal — on defense to end the game.

On offense, Utah was as efficient in the fourth quarter as you can get — three touchdowns on three drives. What’s more, one of them was a two-play drive, and the others were each just three plays.

Micah Bernard scored the final touchdown for Utah on a 23-yard run, and he could keep running to Pasadena.

A second consecutive Rose Bowl awaits the Utes.

Utah’s offense was ignited

In Utah’s 20-17 loss to Oregon two weeks ago, the offense sputtered, especially late in the game.

With a knee brace on, quarterback Cameron Rising had perhaps his worst game as a Ute against the Ducks.

Though he bounced back against Colorado last week, questions remained about whether Rising could conjure up another heroic performance like in his first game against the Trojans this season, especially as he was still sporting a knee brace during warmups Friday.

Rising silenced those questions, willing the Utes to a blowout victory.

He finished the game 22 for 34 for 310 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a quarterback rating of 170.4.

No. 11 Utah wins the Pac-12 championship, beating No. 4 USC 47-24

As he has done before in his career, Rising showed up big time in the biggest game of the season for the Utes.

Tight end Dalton Kincaid did not play as big of a role as he normally does, blanketed by USC defenders all game, as the Trojans were not going to let him beat them a second time.

Plenty of receivers stepped up for the Utes — Money Parks had 88 yards and a score, Thomas Yassmin had 81 yards and a touchdown, Jaylen Dixon had 55 yards and a touchdown and Micah Bernard had 41 yards.

On the ground, Ja’Quinden Jackson led the charge, rushing for 105 yards and two scores, while Bernard had 88 rushing yards and a touchdown.

The offensive line played well all game, only allowing one sack, protecting Rising well and keeping the run game going.

After a rough first quarter, Utah’s defense roared back to life

Utah’s defense made some costly mistakes, especially in the first quarter.

The Utes blew their coverage more than once, leading to wide-open USC receivers. The Trojans scored two straight touchdowns to open the game, then tacked on a field goal, leading Utah 17-3.

Then, the Ute defense dialed in.

Of course, Williams was injured during the game, playing the second half with a visible limp that hampered his elite running and escapability.

USC’s next five drives, from 11:56 in the second quarter until the start of the fourth quarter, ended without points.

Four of those five drives ended with the Trojans punting the ball.

Williams gutted out a touchdown drive, scoring with 10:52 left in the fourth quarter to bring the Trojans within three, but that would be the final time USC scored.

USC’s 24 points were its second-lowest scoring output of the year. Williams — one of, if not the most elusive quarterback in college football — was sacked seven times.

The Utes’ defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, never letting the Trojans’ run game get going, as USC finished with a season-low 56 total rushing yards.

Mohamoud Diabate came up huge with eight tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble, Karene Reid made a number of big plays and R.J. Hubert had a game-changing interception with USC down by 10 and on the edge the red zone with just over seven minutes left in the game.