Kyle Whittingham has Lincoln Riley’s number.

On Saturday night, Utah’s recent reign over USC continued with the Utes’ 34-32 victory over the Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

That is Whittingham’s third win over Riley and USC in the past two years, and Utah’s fourth straight over the Trojans in the series.

Related
3 takeaways from No. 14 Utah’s 34-32 win against No. 18 USC
Highlights, key plays and photos from No. 14 Utah’s 34-32 win over No. 18 USC
Cam Rising, Brant Kuithe, Lander Barton out for the season
Social media reacts to Utah’s dramatic win over USC

It was a loss that Riley called “as gut-wrenching a defeat as I can remember in my career.”

Following the loss, USC did not make any players available for comment — only Riley talked with reporters.

Several journalists turned to social media to share their thoughts on the situation.

Whittingham’s Utes have now accounted for three of Riley’s four regular-season losses during his two seasons at USC. 

“Give credit to Utah. We’ve had three great games with them. Great competitors. It was a heck of a ballgame,” Riley said.

Here’s a sampling of what else Riley said about Utah’s latest defeat of the Big Ten-bound Trojans:

On USC not playing clean enough:

“It was a good heavyweight battle. Two good football teams going at it, and it came down to the last play. The locker room’s pretty torn up right now, as it should be. We’ve had two tough losses in a row and obviously not how any of us scripted this. But you can’t script it — it’s college football.

“It comes down to little things here and there, and we haven’t quite played clean enough here in the last couple of weeks to take advantage of it. We have played very hard, and the guys really sold out.”

On Utah’s final drive — the roughing the passer penalty, Bryson Barnes’ 26-yard scramble and the game-winning Cole Becker field goal:

“We had a 15-yard penalty with all the momentum in the world, and then we gave up the big quarterback scramble on the play before the field goal. I thought we ran great calls. I thought we had a ton of momentum. Bear (Alexander)’s been an awesome player for us and he was really broken up about the penalty because that was the one that really gave them some life. 

“… That was the big momentum one. And then we did a great job regaining momentum and pushing them back, and then the quarterback scramble there at the end obviously hurt us and put them in pretty advantageous field goal range.”

On reframing expectations after two straight losses:

“We don’t come in every single week talking about winning a national championship, going to playoffs and I don’t know where that narrative starts. You come in every single week, try and fight your tail off to go play well and win a ballgame. It’s a strain every week to do it. And it’s a fight every week to do it. 

“... Do we have a nauseous feeling in our stomach right now? Yeah, it kills you to lose a game like this, especially when you fight your tail off and have an epic comeback like we have because it was an epic comeback against a (expletive) good football team. But do you let it defeat you and take you away from the things that you’ve built over time, the momentum in this program?” 

On outside expectations to be a championship caliber team:

“When you haven’t been in this position in a while, it takes time, and it’s gonna take some scars. It’s gonna take some tough lessons to learn. These are lessons that we couldn’t learn last year like it wasn’t like this. It didn’t feel like this. This is part of our progression, and it sucks, it kills you. But this program will be better for it. Because for the first time in a while, there are going to be championship expectations here, and those aren’t going anywhere.”

On what’s ahead for USC:

“We’ve got some big opportunities coming up. There’s a lot left that’s going to happen. And if we’ll continue to fight and prepare the way that we did this week, we’ll have our chances. So we’ve gotta get past it, gotta get on to the next one.”