Here are some highlights from the press conferences following USC’s 33-17 win over Utah:

Head coach Clay Helton

Opening statement:

“What a great win for our football team. To come to Salt Lake, which is a really tough place to play, to go against a Kyle Whittingham team that is in my opinion one of the best coaches in the country and to come out of here with a win — which was a big win for us and for our season, really proud of our kids. I thought the storyline tonight, one, was our defense. I thought they played amazing the entire game, really only giving up 10 points themself — we gave up 7 points offensively — but we had a goal in the second half coming out of the locker room that we didn’t want to allow another point. And unbelievable, I thought the defense in the second half rallied and rallied and rallied, turnover after turnover, fourth-down stops, just did an amazing job. Kana’i [Mauga] coming in making the most of his opportunity, the play-makers in the back end with the interceptions that they got, multiple sacks by the defensive front, I thought we got the quarterback off his spot all night.

“The other thing that I thought needs to be said and noticed was the kicking game. I thought the two specialists did an amazing job tonight — both Parker Lewis in kick coverage and also with field goals that he made, and then Ben [Griffiths] just not allowing them the opportunity to get a return started. Our defense and our special teams, I thought was stellar. Not on all cylinders offensively tonight. We did enough to get it done and put enough points on the board to get the win.”

On the difference he saw Saturday compared to the first two weeks:

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“I thought execution defensively was phenomenal. I thought they played with a swagger tonight and played with tremendous emotion. I think that we are growing as a football team. Coming to Salt Lake where I know with Kyle, they had not lost a home opener in the last 11 years, and I think it’s 18 total, and to come in here with the mindset this team had that we’re going to do whatever it took to come out here with the win and get 1-0 on the week, 3-0 on the season, I thought their mindset was an improvement from the last two weeks.”

On the defensive game plan:

“I thought the defensive front was stellar. We talked about that we had to stop the run. We knew they were going to come in, they had always been a 60-percent-run-plus team against us, and so that was the initial — at all costs stop the run even if that means loaded boxes. They put a little pressure on the secondary, but they held their own and that allowed us to get to third down and then our pass rushers did an amazing job. They forced throws that caused interceptions, sacks, …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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