Utah football may be famous for its defense, but on Saturday, it was the offense that stole the show.

Led by quarterback Bryson Barnes, the offense made major play after major play, proving that it really is possible to overcome an injury bug that’s biting your team’s biggest stars.

Here are three takeaways from Utah’s 34-32 memorable win over USC.

Sione Vaki is mesmerizing

One week after he helped jumpstart the Utes’ run game against Cal, Sione Vaki brought his special spark to Utah’s passing attack on Saturday.

Vaki, a safety-turned-two-way-player, scored the first touchdown of the game on a 53-yard reception, and he never looked back.

In the first half alone, Vaki had 98 receiving yards, more than any other player who caught a pass in the first or second quarter.

He finished the game with 149 total receiving yards, 68 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

The Fox commentators echoed what’s becoming a common refrain by comparing Vaki to former Ute Eric Weddle, who played safety for the Utes and contributed to Utah’s run game, scoring five touchdowns during his senior season before an All-Pro career at safety in the NFL.

Bryson Barnes put his body on the line

Over the past seven weeks, the Utes felt quarterback Cam Rising’s absence deeply. Runners, receivers and the quarterbacks starting in place of Rising struggled to find their groove.

But on Saturday, quarterback Bryson Barnes, who was making his second-straight start, took the reins and showed that the Utes can be great even with Rising in street clothes.

Time and again, Barnes put his body on the line to secure key yards for his team, and he made some major passes, too. He finished the game 14-for-23 for 235 yards and three touchdowns and also scored a rushing touchdown in the first quarter.

His most impressive run came with just 16 seconds left in the game. As the clock ticked down, he carried the ball 26 yards, setting Utes kicker Cole Becker up for a relatively easy game-winning field goal.

Barnes’ performance would have been significant regardless, but it was especially notable given who he was playing against.

2022 Heisman winner Caleb Williams stood on the opposite sideline, doing everything he could to keep the Trojans in the game.

Fox commentators described Barnes as an “unbelievable competitor” and praised him for going “toe-to-toe with a Heisman Trophy winner.”

Highlights, key plays and photos from No. 14 Utah’s 34-32 win over No. 18 USC

Utah-USC matchups will be missed

Saturday’s game, like most clashes between Utah and USC, was a classic, and it was made even more memorable by the fact that the Pac-12 as we know it will soon be no more.

Next year, USC will join the Big Ten along with UCLA, Oregon and Washington.

Utah, Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado, meanwhile, will enter the Big 12.

Unless the Utes and Trojans somehow end up in this year’s Pac-12 championship game in December, their yearslong conference rivalry is officially over. Utah fans can at least be thankful that their team secured the last regular season win.

No. 9 Oregon is up next for Utah. The Ducks will travel to Salt Lake City for the game, which starts at 1:30 p.m. MDT on Saturday, Oct. 28.