Utah State vs. USC 2013 final score: Trojans survive with 17-14 win

Harry How

Cody Kessler led the Trojans to a big win over a scrappy Utah State team on Saturday.

The USC Trojans survived an upset scare from the Utah State Aggies on Saturday afternoon, pulling out a 17-14 win to improve to 3-1 on the young season.

Midway through the third quarter, Chuckie Keeton connected with Travis Reynolds for a touchdown to tie the game at 14-14. USC's offense had a couple of chance to take lead once again, but they stalled around midfield. On their first drive of the fourth quarter, Andre Heidari drilled a 25-yard field goal to give the Trojans a 17-14 lead.

Utah State had one final chance to make a stop and get the ball back with two minutes remaining, but Cody Kessler forced his way towards a first down on a fourth-and-inches situation to essentially end the game. The loss for Utah State is their second of the season to a Pac-12 school by four points or fewer.

Box Score Hero: Keeton didn't put up his customary huge numbers, but he was solid yet again, completing 21-of-39 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns. Making his second start of the season, Kessler was equally impressive, throwing for 164 yards and a touchdown.

Penalties hurt Utah State all game. The Aggies had 11 flags thrown and it cost them 89 total yards. USC committed eight penalties, but is was only for 58 yards.

Rankings Ramifications: Other than just a couple of votes in the Coaches Poll, neither team really figured in last week's top-25 rankings. The win for USC will help the team down the road, but they'll need to win a few more if they hope to get a number next to their name.

But Did They Cover? Most lines had USC favored by seven on Saturday after the Trojans opened as nine-point favorites earlier in the week, according to Odds Shark. They failed to cover the spread.

For More On This Game:

For more on Trojans football, visit USC community Conquest Chronicles, plus Pac-12 community Pacific Takes. Check out Mountain West Connection for the latest on Utah State.

Next Week's Schedule:

USC: 9/28, @ Arizona State, Time TBD

Utah State: 9/27, @ San Jose State, 9 p.m. ET

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