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USC hands No. 3 Utah its first loss; Pac-12 South again up for grabs

LOS ANGELES -- Never doubt Vegas?

Much of the talk leading into Saturday's game between unranked USC and No. 3 Utah at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was about the point spread. How, many wondered, were the Trojans -- with an interim head coach and losers of three of four -- favored against an undefeated team, ranked third in the country? Turns out the 6.5 points USC was giving weren't enough as the Trojans thrashed Utah 42-24 to shake things up in the Pac-12 South.

What the win means for USC: The Trojans were on the brink of a lost season, but are now just a game back of the Utes in the division. Three teams -- Arizona State, UCLA and USC -- are grouped together with two losses, making the division, as it was until the final week last season, a free-for-all. Despite its recent struggles, USC proved week-to-week it is still as dangerous a team as there is in the Pac-12. Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has repeatedly called the Trojans the conference's most talented team, and Saturday's showing only enhanced that perception.

What the loss means for Utah: After such a lopsided loss, it's hard to take Utah seriously as a College Football Playoff contender, but the Utes are still in the driver's seat in the Pac-12 South. With a favorable schedule upcoming -- Oregon State, Washington, Arizona -- the Utes are set up well to play for their first Pac-12 title. Every team in the conference has turned in at least one puzzling performance, Utah was just the last to do so.

Player of the game: USC freshman linebacker Cam Smith picked off Travis Wilson three times and finished with 122 return yards, including 54 on a second-quarter touchdown that made it 28-14.

Unsung hero: Utah WR Britain Covey. It might have come in defeat, but Covey's seven-catch, 129-yard night, with a pair of touchdowns and 88 return yards on punts and kickoffs, still left a positive impression. Undersized and undervalued during recruiting, he'll be missed the next two years while he serves on his Mormon mission.