Football
    USC Football Stays At Home To Host Hot No. 21 Colorado

    Sam Darnold
    Oct. 2, 2016

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    THE LAST MEETING
    USC27
    Colorado24
    November 13, 2015
    Boulder, Colo.
    USC Overcomes 14-Point Deficit to Defeat Colorado, 27-24
    Cody Kessler threw three touchdown passes in the second half, Adoree' Jackson blocked a field goal to set up a score and Southern California hung on to beat Colorado 27-24 on a frigid Friday night for its fourth straight victory. Trailing by two touchdowns to a 16-point underdog, the Trojans (7-3, 5-2 Pac-12) woke up on offense and scored 24 straight points. It was their 10th straight victory over Colorado (4-7, 1-6). Kessler gave the Trojans their first lead on a 2-yard pass to tight end Taylor McNamara late in the third quarter. The defense preserved the win by forcing a fourth-down incompletion on Colorado's final possession with 1:59 remaining.

    USC remains at home this week to host hot Colorado, which is ranked by AP (No. 21) for the first time since 2005. It is the fourth ranked squad USC has faced so far in 2016. Troy has never lost to the Buffaloes in 10 tries (the Trojans had scored at least 40 points in 5 consecutive meetings before last year’s 3-point win). It is only the second time USC has faced a ranked Buffalo team. Colorado is making only its third visit to the Coliseum since 2000. For the second straight week, a team with a potent offense comes to town to play USC, and Colorado appears to have a defense to match its offense. All 3 of Troy’s losses in 2016 have been to AP Top 25 teams away from home. USC is playing one of the nation’s toughest schedules. Coach Clay Helton’s USC team had its most complete performance of 2016 in its impressive victory over unbeaten Arizona State last week. Precocious QB Sam Darnold threw for 350-plus yards and 3 TDs (all to WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, including a dazzling long catch-and-run), TB Justin Davis had his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game and the Trojan defense--keyed by players such as ILBs Cameron Smith and Michael Hutchings, CB-WR-RET Adoree’ Jackson, DE Porter Gustin and S Leon McQuay--kept ASU’s offense well under its points and yardage averages. USC secondary coach Ronnie Bradford will be coaching against his alma mater, where he won a national championship in 1990. Colorado, under coach Mike MacIntyre, posted impressive wins the past 2 weeks over Oregon and Oregon State, giving the Buffaloes their best start (4-1) since 2005 and their first 2-0 conference start since 2007. The CU offense is in the national Top 20 in total offense, scoring offense and passing offense. Redshirt freshman QB Steven Montez took over for injured QB Sefo Liufau in the Michigan game and he has been as dynamic throwing and running as Liufau (Montez is 10th in the country in passing efficiency, while Liufau is CU’s career leader in completions, passing yards and total offense). TBs Phillip Lindsay and Kyle Evans lead the ground attack, while WRs Devin Ross and Shay Fields are the top pass catchers. CU’s defense is highly ranked nationally in pass defense and total defense behind the play of ILBs Kenneth Olugbode and Rick Gamboa and CB Chidobe Awuzie, who has 7 career inteceptions. The game will be shown live on Pac-12 Network. It is Joint Forces Day at the Coliseum. It’s also Trojan Family Weekend, with thousands of parents and family members joining their USC students at the game. There will be a ceremony recognizing USC’s first-ever Women’s Capital One Cup win in 2016 (in 2015-16, 8 USC women’s teams finished in the Top 10 in NCAA championship play, including NCAA crowns in beach volleyball and water polo).