Utah's Kyle Whittingham explains decision to go for two and the win over USC
Kyle Whittingham told reporters after Saturday’s 43-42 win over No. 7 USC that he and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig spoke before the Utes’ final drive about what would happen should they reach the endzone.
Would Utah kick the PAT to tie the game at 42-42 and see if the defense could provide one stop to force overtime? Or would Ludwig roll the dice and go for a two-point conversion to potentially win it in regulation? They decided before taking the field that if the clock was nearing zeros across the board, they’d go for two.
So, when quarterback Cameron Rising crossed the goal line on fourth-and-goal from the USC 1 with 48 seconds left, there was no hesitation.
“I talked to Coach Ludwig when the drive started and said if we score here and the clock isn’t in our favor, we are going for two,” Whittingham said. “If there are a couple of minutes left, we will kick the PAT. So it played out exactly to our benefit. When there were 35 seconds left, it was already predetermined. We knew the play call. We had talked about it at the onset of the drive.’
Whittingham: "Field goals were not going to be part of the equation this game."
— Josh Newman (@Joshua_Newman) October 16, 2022
Utah missed a kick on its opening drive — a 34-yard attempt from Jordan Noyes that went wide left. That was Noyes’ only attempt of the evening. USC scored touchdowns on six of its 11 possessions, including each of its first three. Utah knew it needed to keep pace. And it did exactly that.
The Utes scored touchdowns on five of their final six drives. Rising finished 29-for-43 for 415 yards and two passing scores to go with 60 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground. The Utes didn’t need to put the game on the leg of a kicker, Rising was more than capable of delivering.
“We called a play where the ball would be in his hands to either find an open receiver or tuck it and get in the endzone, and he did just that,” Whittingham said. “He has been so incredible for us ever since he took over for us. It’s a great feeling to have him at the control of the offense.”