USC's Ross Cumming upends Cal's Isi Sofele in the 4th quarter (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
USC's defense, coming off a season-best performance against California, probably can't wait to get to Salt Lake City for Thursday night's game against Utah.
Among 120 major college teams, the Utes have triple-digit rankings in rushing, passing and total offense.
Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn suffered a career-ending shoulder injury last month and top running back John White has been slowed by an ankle injury.
But Utah, like the Trojans, had an open date last week, allowing White to heal in preparation for the Pac-12 Conference game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
"He carries the load over there," USC linebacker Hayes Pullard said Monday.
In 16 games White played in over the last two seasons, Utah is 9-0 when he rushed for more than 100 yards, 0-7 when he did not.
White, who played at South Torrance High and Los Angeles Harbor College, rushed for 1,519 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. The Trojans limited him to 56 yards and a touchdown in 20 carries in a 23-14 victory at the Coliseum.
White, 5 feet 8 and 185 pounds, was injured in a Sept. 7 loss at Utah State and was sidelined for the Utes' victory over Brigham Young the next week. On Sept. 22, in a 37-7 loss to Arizona State, he gained only 18 yards in 14 carries and fumbled twice.
He has rushed for 233 yards and a touchdown.
Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham told local reporters Monday that he hopes White's fumbles were "a fluke," adding, "We're going to chalk that up to one bad night, and hopefully he'll bounce back and be ready to go this week."
If White cannot play, or is limited, former USC recruit Kelvin York will get more opportunities. The 5-11, 223-pound York, a Louisiana native, rushed for 1,435 yards and 17 touchdowns as a freshman at Fullerton College in 2010. Though he verbally committed to the Trojans, USC stopped recruiting him after he suffered a knee injury during his sophomore season.
York rushed for 86 yards in 13 carries against Arizona State.
"He had a good spring and we think that he's going to be a guy who gets better from week to week," Whittingham said. "We need that to happen. He's a very talented kid and we saw signs of that against Arizona State. If he can pick up this game where he left off that will help us a great deal. "
Utah quarterback Jon Hays, who has a 7-4 record as a starter, has passed for four touchdowns since replacing Wynn, with one interception.
USC cornerback Nickell Robey hopes opponents start challenging him.
"I would like to have the ball thrown at my side at least 20 times a game," the junior said.
That is unlikely to happen if USC's other cornerbacks continue to struggle.
"It's no secret," Coach Lane Kiffin said. "We haven't played well there all year."
Kiffin said the Trojans need better coverage, tackling and playmaking from the spot opposite Robey, who has broken up two passes and has no interceptions.
Junior Torin Harris, freshman Kevon Seymour and sophomore Anthony Brown are competing for playing time against Utah.
USC's Oct. 13 game against Washington at CenturyLink Field in Seattle will kick off at 4 p.m. and be televised by Fox. . . . USC and Utah have not played in Salt Lake City since 1917. The Trojans won that game, 51-0.