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USC's Josh Shaw comes through at cornerback

He was switched from safety and intercepted a pass in the first quarter to set up the Trojans' only touchdown.

October 26, 2013|By Gary Klein

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USC again switched Josh Shaw from safety to cornerback, and the move paid immediate dividends in the Trojans' 19-3 victory over Utah on Saturday at the Coliseum.

Shaw's first-quarter interception of a pass thrown by Utah quarterback Travis Wilson set up the Trojans' only touchdown.

Shaw, a junior, started the season opener at safety, moved to cornerback for four games and started the last two games at safety.

Shaw said he felt confident at cornerback.

"I told the coaches before the game, 'Don't worry about the right side," Shaw said.

Freshmen Leon McQuay III and Su'a Cravens also intercepted passes.

McQuay played extensively for the first time. He was the nickelback in the first half — when he made his first career interception — and moved to safety after Cravens suffered a groin injury on an interception return at the end of the second quarter.

"It was a little frustrating, seeing all the other top freshmen playing and making plays and stuff," McQuay said. "But my coach just kept telling me, 'Just keep working, just keep getting better. You'll get your chance.'"

Kessler endures

USC quarterback Cody Kessler completed 21 of 32 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown.

The third-year sophomore was sacked five times.

"That one definitely hurt," he said. "I'll be sore in the morning."

Tight fit

Walk-on tight end Chris Willson transferred to USC after playing quarterback and baseball at Wake Forest.

With tight ends Xavier Grimble, Randall Telfer and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick sidelined because of injuries, Willson played extensively on Saturday and caught a five-yard pass from Kessler.

"From where I was a couple months ago, I would have no idea that I would be making a catch as a tight end on the field for the Trojans," Willson said.

In the Flo

Receiver De'Von Flournoy, a fifth-year senior, caught two passes for 45 yards, including a career-long 31-yard reception that he extended with second effort.

Flournoy and teammates celebrated the second-quarter play that helped set up a field goal.

"Just to be able to touch the rock and make a play for my team and hear the crowd and hear my boys just tap me on the head saying, 'Good job, Flo. Good job,' it meant a lot," he said.

Quick hits

Tailback Tre Madden, who sat out against Notre Dame because of a hamstring injury, rushed for 60 yards in 12 carries.… Utah quarterback Travis Wilson, who played at San Clemente High, completed five of 14 passes for 51 yards, with two interceptions. He also rushed for 42 yards in 12 carries…. Former USC lineman Anthony Munoz, who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, led the Trojans out of the tunnel as the honorary captain.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesklein

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