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  • Writer's pictureAustin Facer

Two-man Advantage: Utah Beats USC on an Unforgettable Night

I don’t know how to explain this.

I really don’t.

I’m so euphoric right now and struggling to find the right words to explain why Utah’s dramatic come-from-behind victory over USC on Saturday means so much to me right now.

The victory didn’t secure any sort of championship hardware.

The Utes didn’t put themselves in the conversation for the college football playoff with an upset over the Trojans. They also didn’t make a qualification for the Pac-12 title game a certainty. They didn’t even become bowl eligible with the dub. They still have to win one more game to punch their ticket to any postseason action.

There’s still so much season left to play. So much still that hasn’t been claimed and could just as easily be lost.

But I really don’t care right now.

The game has been over for almost two hours and I’m still buzzing.

I can’t imagine how Utah’s players and coaches must be feeling now.

This was the Utes’ most exciting win, maybe ever, at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

And I didn’t think surpassing last year’s win over Oregon in Salt Lake City was possible after witnessing that victory last November.

But somehow, the Utes pulled it off. They made a believer out of me. My friend, Eric Jensen, and I regularly do a local college football podcast where we evaluate each team’s performance each week while looking ahead to the next game. Last week, after Utah’s loss to UCLA, I was insanely down on the Utes.

“This team is not improving on a weekly basis,” I said, feeling very much correct at the time. USC is going to roll into the Mountain Time Zone and embarrass Utah on its home field, I forecast.

And sure enough, I’ve been served a healthy helping of crow by the stalwart Utes. And I have to say, it tastes so good to be this wrong.

But why? That question remains. Why does this feel the way it does?

Maybe it’s because my faith in the Utes was never lower than when USC took a 14-0 lead in the blink of an eye. Maybe the gratifying restoration of faith brought me to my current excess of joy.

Maybe it’s because Dalton Kincade, who had the game of his life, was wincing in obvious pain - while trainers checked on his knee with worried expressions - before rising to his feet and raising his arms, giving the crowd even more reason to collectively lose its mind.

Maybe it’s because Cam Rising, Utah’s once-in-a-generation leader, looked like his heart rate never rose above 30 beats per minute while finding the endzone – twice, once for a touchdown and another for a game-winning 2-point conversion, in the final minute of the game.

Or maybe it’s because the portraits of Aaron Lowe and Ty Jordan shined so brilliantly under the lights at the stadium they’ve consecrated for the rest of time. I was worried the program had made a mistake by wearing those helmets in the most difficult game of the year. It would have been a tragedy to see the tribute wasted in an unwinnable situation.

I couldn't have been any more wrong. I'm not a very spiritual person, but I can't shake the feeling that Ty and Aaron were present at the game. Their spirits were there, and they were needed.

After all, Utah was playing with 13 on the field throughout the entire game, so was it any wonder they prevailed in the end?

So maybe it's for all of those reasons. And a few more.

What a night.

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