Caleb Williams’ Vegas experience last fall was certainly a memorable one, but for the wrong reasons. And he kicked up a bit of controversy over the weekend when he said things would have been different had he been healthy.

USC took to the desert one win away from a Pac-12 championship and a berth in the College Football Playoff. Instead, it received a 47-24 blowout at the hands of Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game. That ended the CFP hopes and left the Trojans wanting more out of what was an otherwise outstanding first year under Lincoln Riley.

In the game, Williams was injured on a long run in the first quarter. He later revealed he felt a pop in his hamstring and was significantly limited the rest of the way.

So much of the magic of his Heisman Trophy-winning season was his ability to evade would-be tacklers and extend plays. Confined more to the pocket than he’d been, Utah pinned its ears back and went after Williams. Utah sacked him seven times — a figure that represented nearly a quarter of the sacks USC allowed all season.

But Williams — making a round of media appearances over the past week in the lead-up to Super Bowl LVII — said things would have been different had he not been hurt.

“The outcome could have been a little different if I was healthy that last game (Pac-12 Championship Game) and I truly believe that,” Williams said during a spot on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “But that’s not the situation that went down. Make sure my body’s healthy (in 2023).”

Ute fans jumped on the comments, quick to point out that Utah quarterback Cameron Rising wasn’t 100% either. He’d battled a lower-body injury that forced him to miss a game mid-season and limited him the rest of the way.

The Utes were also without one of their top receiving threats, three of what were their top four running backs entering the year, and their top pass-rusher at defensive end.

Had Williams been full-strength, perhaps the matchup would have followed a similar script to the first meeting in Salt Lake City, when Utah outlasted USC in a 43-42 thriller that went down to the wire.

Of the Trojans’ three losses in 2022, two of them came by a single point. That included the Cotton Bowl against Tulane a month after the Pac-12 title game, when Williams put 45 points on the board but the defense blew a 15-point lead in the final five minutes of the game.

Williams and Rising will meet again in Los Angeles in 2023, when USC hosts Utah on Oct. 21. That figures to once again be one of the best games on the Pac-12 schedule.