Finally the most anticipated matchup of the Pac-12 season is at the proverbial doorstep of Rice-Eccles Stadium. No. 20 Utah hosts No. 7 USC on Saturday under the lights for a game that pits the defending Pac-12 champions against the team many believe will take the crown in 2022.

The Trojans have to go through Utah to get there, though, and that will mean finding a way to mitigate the impact of Utah corner Clark Phillips III. There has perhaps been no better cornerback in the country this season than Phillips, whose five interceptions lead all FBS defenders and who has already returned a pair of those interceptions for touchdowns.

Phillips is a blanket on the other team’s best receiver. He’s the highest-graded cornerback in coverage in all of college football, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s been targeted 29 times this season and has been beaten for a score only once. He has yet to give up a pass play of more than 25 yards.

And this weekend he’ll get to go against one of the best in USC wideout Jordan Addison.

“I’m excited,” said Phillips this week. “We’ve got a big matchup at our house against some great guys. Great team. I’m super excited (to play) these guys.”

Early this week, Addison sang Phillips’ praise, saying he’s got “great feet” and “good speed.”

So far this season, his first with USC, Addison is the fourth-leading receiver in the Pac-12. After a 1,593-yard/17-touchdown season last year, Addison is known around the country as one of the most dangerous offensive players in college football. He told reporters this week he’s noticing more outside leverage from defenders as they try and keep him from getting to the outside.

Coach Lincoln Riley said he’s not getting doubled every play, but he has seen “a little extra attention” come his way.

It’s hard to do against USC given the depth of talent in the wideout room.

“That’s as deep and as talented a receiving corps as maybe there is in the country,” said coach Kyle Whittingham this week. “Maybe the best. A lot of weaponry for (quarterback Caleb Williams) to get the ball and spread it out.”

Added Phillips: “Good quarterback, some great receivers. I feel like they’ve got a myriad of weapons and people that can really hurt us as a defense. It’s a challenge you anticipate when you call yourself a great defense. I’m excited to see them in Rice-Eccles.”

For the sophomore from Lakewood, California, a chance to shine against USC on a national stage is quite the opportunity.

“That was my first-ever game as a freshman (in 2020),” Phillips said this week. “I grew up in the hometown of USC and UCLA, so when you play against these guys, it’s definitely something a little bit more.”

Utah has two losses on its résumé, but a chance to catch fire in this spot. The Trojan pass game, red-hot to begin the season, has only produced scattered sparks in two of its last three games. How often does Phillips line up across from Addison? Who wins the one-on-one when he does? That’ll be a major determining factor on Saturday.

Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. PT on FOX.