USC vs. Utah: Utes Players Trojans Must Watch Out for Thursday Night

Ryan Reed@@rareedBRCorrespondent IIOctober 4, 2012

TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 05:  Runningback John White IV #15 of the Utah Utes scores a 11 yard rushing touchdown against the Arizona Wildcats during the college football game at Arizona Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona.  The Utes defeated the Wildcats 34-21.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

This Thursday, USC faces one of its easiest opponents left on the schedule. The Utes are coming off an embarrassing 37-7 loss against Arizona State, only a week after beating then ranked BYU.

Utah is coming into this game putting up only 190.8 passing yards and 107.5 rushing yards per game.

USC, on the other hand, averages 256.8 passing yards and 165.3 rushing yards, while their defense only allows 17.3 points per game.

The point is, the Trojans should be pretty heavily favored going into this contest. Still, there are a few players that they must watch out for in this home game for the Utes.


John White

This senior running back has seen his numbers steadily decline in each game he plays. He has gone from a 5.0 yards per carry average to 3.6 and finally 1.3 in his last game.

Beyond that, White has only put up 233 yards and a touchdown this season while catching five balls for another 36 yards.

So why does John deserve to be on the USC Watch list? He just has too much ability to be performing like he has been. Just last season White ran for 1519 yards on 4.8 yards per carry and added 15 touchdowns.

There is a good chance that White will not break out with big numbers like he did last season, but the possibility definitely exists and it will be worth USC's time to pay special attention to him. Besides, there is no way he can repeat his awful 14 carries for 18 yards against Arizona State.


Jon Hays

Okay, so this senior quarterback isn't going to wow anybody with his numbers. Heck, most people wouldn't even be mildly impressed with what he has done so far.

Still, Hays has had several showings, which should force USC to at least respect his game.

The most notable game of the season has to be against BYU. While he only had 196 yards, Hays also completed 66.7 percent of his passes for two touchdowns and no interceptions. That isn't overly impressive, but definitely gets the job done.

Hays has done a pretty good job with the Utes this season considering his most experienced receiver came into the season with 23 career catches under his belt. USC would be wise to not underestimate Jon Hays based on his low yardage numbers.


Kelvin York

As John White continues to struggle for the Utes, Kelvin York is being given more of an opportunity. That culminated in 13 carries and 86 yards against Arizona State in their last game.

Since York was able to run the ball so successfully while White struggled with only a 1.3 yards per carry average, I would look for Kelvin to continue to split carries with John White.

The most scary thing about York is that he is a relative unknown. Prior to the Arizona State game, Kelvin had only rushed nine times, putting up decent numbers.

His most recent success, combined with the fact that USC has had troubles against the run this season, means that the Trojans should be watching him closely as the game progresses.