SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — All-American wide receiver Robert Woods was face down on the giant red "U'' in the middle of the field Thursday night, dazed by a wicked shot.
The scene was indicative of the Trojans as a whole after blunders left No. 13 Southern California down two touchdowns early and Utah smelling upset.
Woods righted himself and so did the rest of the USC offense, with quarterback Matt Barkley showing why he was a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy before the season started.
Barkley led the Trojans to 28 straight points, passing for 303 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-28 victory.
"That was a real low point to give the other team 14 points to start the game, but our team bounced back," said Barkley, who finished 23 of 30. "We didn't let that ruin our night."
Instead the Trojans ruined one of the biggest games in Utah history — it was USC's first trip to Salt Lake City in 95 years.
"We wanted to come out fast and we did that," said Utah wide receiver Kenneth Scott, who caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jon Hays and had a 44-yarder nullified by penalty in the second quarter. "Now we just have to finish."
That the Trojans (4-1, 2-1) showed they know how to do, scoring twice in a span of less than 3 minutes in the fourth quarter to turn a 3-point game into another victory.
Leading 24-21, Barkley tossed an 83-yard TD pass to Marqise Lee to bump USC's lead to 10 points. Less than 3 minutes later, cornerback Nickell Robey intercepted a pass by Jon Hays and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown.
"The D-line disrupted the play" Robey said of a pass Hays overthrew. "I read it. I just broke on the ball and stepped in and caught it."
That may well have been what a frenzied crowd of 46,037 thought when Utah (2-3, 0-2 Pac-12) forced turnovers 1:16 apart to open the game, both involving Rimington Award candidate Khaled Holmes
Just 47 seconds in Nate Fakahafua scored from 8 yards out after stripping the ball from Barkley after a bad snap by Holmes. On the second play of USC's second series, reigning Pac-12 defensive lineman of the year Star Lotulelei bulldozed Holmes as he snapped the ball and pounced on the fumble with 12:57 left in the first. Hays; 11-yard TD pass to Kenneth Scott put Utah up 14-0.