Friday Fast Facts – No. 21 Colorado at USC

Getting to Know … USC

This past off-season, Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre was ranked in the top ten of coaches on the “hot seat” by the folks at With a 4-1 start to the season, including a road win over Oregon and a No. 21 national ranking, MacIntyre has moved into the “Safe For Now” category on the website.

The current No. 1 on the “hot seat” list?

USC’s Clay Helton.

The heat may have been turned down a little after the Trojans dominated Arizona State last weekend, 41-20 (41-6 after three quarters). Still, USC is 2-3 on the season, and 3-6 since the Trojans got past the Buffs, 27-24, in Boulder last November.

Colorado will be the fourth ranked opponent in six games for USC. The Trojans fell in the opener, 52-6, to No. 1 Alabama. USC has also lost on the road against No. 7 Stanford, 27-10, and to No. 24 Utah, 31-27.

No shame in losing to ranked teams, especially on the road … unless you are USC. The Trojans were ranked No. 20 in the nation to open the season, and were a close second to UCLA in the preseason polling when it came time to pick a Pac-12 South division winner.

USC has never lost to Colorado. The game against the Buffs was supposed to be just a blip on the radar of the Trojans’ October schedule (Colorado, both Arizona schools, and Cal).

Now the game looms as a marker as to whether Clay Helton moves a little further away from the No. 1 hot seat ranking … or the heat gets turned up that much higher.


USC players to watch:

Sam Darnold, QB … The Trojans opened the season with junior Max Browne at quarterback, but Browne has been replaced by Sam Darnold. The freshman has energized the USC offense, going 41-of-59 for 605 yards and three touchdowns the past two games. Darnold went for over 350 yards against Arizona State last week … but Darnold was also playing against a pass defense which is ranked 128th – dead last – in the nation. The Colorado secondary should present a greater challenge this week.

Justin Davis, RB … Davis is not a name with which most college football fans are familiar. Yet the 6’1, 200-pound senior is 15th on the all-time rushing list at USC, a list which includes names like Charles White, Marcus Allen, Anthony Davis, Ricky Bell, O.J. Simpson, Mike Garrett  and Reggie Bush. Davis has gone over 100 yards rushing the past two games, and is prospering with Darnold at quarterback.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR … Last year, Smith-Schuster was a second-team All-American and a Biletnikoff Award semi-finalist (he had three catches for 66 yards and a touchdown against the Buffs). This fall, the junior has 26 receptions for 320 yards and five touchdowns.

Adoree Jackson, CB/WR/KR … Jackson is one of the best punt and kick returners in the nation. He’s currently eighth in the nation in kick returns, and already has one 100-yard return for a score. He’s equally adept in returning punts — he’s averaging 23.6 yards per return in that department, a number that would lead the nation if he had enough to qualify — and he has a 77-yard return for a touchdown to his credit already this season.


Colorado and USC – historical

Colorado enjoys a certain amount of historical credibility, and stacks up well against most teams in the Pac-12 in historical statistics.

Against USC? Not so much.

In the 12 categories cataloged by Winsipedia, the Buffs lead the Trojans in exactly … none of them.

Some of USC’s impressive national rankings:

— 1st in NFL draft picks, with 493 (CU is 22nd, with 266);

— 6th in weeks spent in the AP poll, with 743 (CU is 26th, with 294);

— 3rd in consensus All-Americans, with 80 (CU is 19th, with 31);

— 4th in conference championships, with 38 (CU is 10th, with 26).

The Trojans also have 815 all-time wins, 10 national championships (USC actually claims 11), six Heisman trophy winners, and 5 No. 1 overall NFL draft picks.


Colorado and USC …  head-to-head

Unless you have been ignoring all news stories about this weekend’s game, you are all-too familiar with the fact that Colorado is 0-10 all-time against USC.

The series dates back to 1927, when the Buffs made a November trip to Southern California, only to head home with a 46-7 defeat.

The next time the two teams played, it was 1963, and the Buffs faced off against a Trojan team ranked No. 1 in the country. In Eddie Crowder’s first game as CU’s head coach, the Buffs played well, but the Trojans escaped with a 14-0 victory.

As members of the Pac-12, the Buffs are 0-5 against the Trojans, and, until the game in Boulder last fall, the series hasn’t been particularly close. The average score of the first four games was 48-20, with USC nationally ranked for each game. Last season, with the Trojans unranked for the first time against the Buffs (there were no national rankings in 1927), USC escaped, 27-24, in a game which the Buffs led in the second quarter, 17-3 (before Sefo Liufau was injured).


Colorado and USC … Notes and Numbers

— One of the assistant coaches for USC is Ronnie Bradford, who coaches the secondary for the Trojans. Astute Buff fans will remember this name well, as Bradford is a name worth remembering. Bradford played for the Buffs from 1989-92, earning All-Big Eight honors his senior year. He is most remembered, though, as the player who blocked the Notre Dame extra point in the 1991 Orange Bowl. Bradford’s effort turned out to be the difference in a 10-9 victory for the Buffs, securing their first national championship;

— USC is the only school to ever open a series with a 10-0 record against Colorado. In fact, only three schools –  Missouri (10; 1938-50), Oklahoma (12; 1977-88); and Nebraska (18; 1968-85) – have ever strung together ten or more consecutive wins over Colorado;

— Colorado is ranked for the first time since November, 2005. The Buffs have now been ranked in 294 polls, 26th on the all-time list (Georgia Tech is at No. 25 on the list, with 300 rankings);

— The Buffs are 2-0 in Pac-12 play, the only Pac-12 South team without a conference defeat. The last time Colorado was alone atop a division was in 2007, when the Buffs started 2-0 in the Big 12 North;

— Colorado has lost nine straight games in the state of California, and is just 2-19-1 all-time. The last victory for the Buffs was against UCLA in 2002 (the only other victory coming in a Holiday Bowl win – over Washington in 1996 – in San Diego;

— Colorado is the only team in the Pac-12 (and one of only seven nationally) with at least four players with catches of 50 yards or longer. Bryce Bobo, Kabion Ento, and Devin Ross have one apiece, while Shay Fields already has four such catches on his own;


Pac-12 Notes … 

— No. 5 Washington is looking to not only break a 12-game losing streak to Oregon, but also to move to 6-0 for the first time since opening the 1992 season 8-0. Washington’s 44-6 win over then No. 7 Stanford last weekend was the largest margin of victory for the Huskies against a top ten team in school history;

— Pac-12 home teams are 9-3 in conference play so far this season, after going 6-0 last weekend;

— With Colorado joining the national rankings, the Pac-12 has four ranked teams (No. 5 Washington; No. 15 Stanford; No. 21 Colorado; and No. 24 Utah) for the first time since the preseason poll;

— Oregon is 2-3 for the first time since 2004, and look to avoid its first four-game losing streak since 2006 when the Ducks face No. 5 Washington;

— Arizona State kicker Zane Gonzalez has 86 field goals, a Pac-12 record. He is two shy of the FBS all-time record of 88, set by Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins (2009-12);

— UCLA visits CU’s next opponent, Arizona State, Saturday night (8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN2). The teams have split the last four meetings … with the visiting team winning each time.











One Reply to “Friday Fast Facts – USC”

  1. May the football Gods be on the sideline with Buffs this weekend. Talent wise we are not in USC’s bracket but heart and preparation is another story. With this two thing we can stick with the Trojans and pull the upset. Stay focused on the one game you are playing this week. Let the Buffalo run roughshod over the Trojans. GO BUFFS.

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