October 13th – Los Angeles           USC 31, No. 19 Colorado 20

USC freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels passed for 272 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Trojans to a 31-20 victory over No. 19 Colorado. Daniels hit wide receiver Michael Pittman for two of those scores late in the second quarter, taking a 7-7 game and making it a 21-7 halftime lead for the Trojans.

CU all-everything wide receiver Laviska Shenault led the Buffs in both rushing and receiving. Shenault had nine receptions for 72 yards, but was held without a receiving touchdown for the first time all season. Shenault also had two carries for 46 yards, including a 49-yard scamper for a touchdown early in the second quarter, giving the Buffs a 7-0 advantage, the only CU lead of the game.

Steven Montez hit on 25-of-46 passes, well below his season average of over 75% completions. Montez had 168 yards passing, adding a 19-yard touchdown run late in the contest. Montez also threw a pick-six early in the third quarter, making it a 28-7 USC advantage.

“USC is a very good team, very experienced, very athletic”, said Mike MacIntyre, who fell to 0-6 against the Trojans. “We did a good job against the run. We gave up too many big plays against the pass. We made some fundamental errors”.

Game Story … For a program looking for its first-ever win over a rival, Colorado opened its road game against USC in fine fashion. On the first play from scrimmage, Buff linebacker Drew Lewis intercepted Trojan quarterback J.T. Daniels, setting up the CU offense at the USC 40-yard line.

Three plays later, however, the ball was back on the CU side of the field, with Buff quarterback Steven Montez sacked on third down, forcing a punt from the Colorado 48-yard line.

The two offenses traded three-and-out possessions before USC picked up the first first down of the game on its third possession. The Trojans were able to push the ball onto the Colorado side of the field, but progressed only as far as the Buff 45-yard line before punting.

On the Buffs’ third possession, the CU offense finally picked up a pair of first downs, but couldn’t penetrate the USC side of the field, punting the ball away for the third time in the first eight minutes of the contest.

The Buff offense was back on the field three plays later, after senior safety Evan Worthington picked off J.T. Daniels at the CU 36-yard line. Unfortunately, the Buff offense did with the second interception what it did with the first … went backwards. Three plays lost two yards, with Davis Price called upon for his fourth punt of the first quarter.

After forcing another punt out of the Trojan offense, the Buffs became the first team to dent the scoreboard. A 27-yard punt return by Ronnie Blackmon gave the Buffs good field position at the CU 40 yard line. On a third-and-one at the USC 49-yard line, Laviska Shenault more than doubled CU’s first quarter output (21 yards, including one yard rushing on nine carries), racing 49 yards for a CU touchdown at the 11:58 mark of the second quarter.

Less than two minutes later, the game was tied once again.

The Trojan drive started with a 27-yard pass from J.T. Daniels to Tyler Vaughn, and ended five plays later with a 28-yard pass from J.T. Daniels to Tyler Vaughn – this time for a touchdown. Colorado 7, USC 7, with still over ten minutes left in the first half.

After three more three-and-outs by the two offenses – two of those from the Buffs – the Trojans took the lead for the first time. With 3:33 before halftime, J.T. Daniels connected with Michael Pittman for a 65-yard touchdown and a 14-7 USC lead.

The Buff offense responded to its first deficit of the game … with its fifth three-and-out of the first half.

Four plays later, it was a two-score game. A 39-yard completion from Daniels to Pittman set up the Trojans at the CU nine yard line. On second down, Daniels hit Pittman for a nine-yard touchdown, making it a 21-7 game with less than two minutes to go before the break.

Halftime score: USC 21, Colorado 7

The first half stats reflected the score, as the Trojans out-gained the Buffs, 255 total yards to 111. USC had zero yards rushing, but the 255 to 60 advantage in passing gave USC the two-score advantage. Had it not been for the two turnovers … it could have been worse, as the Buffs had seven punts in their nine first half possessions.

Any realistic chance at a comeback by the Buffs ended midway through the third quarter. The Colorado offense took the second half kickoff and, while not going three-and-out, did punt the ball away after a six-play, 11-yard drive.

USC used its first possession of the second half to flex its offensive line muscles, running the ball on eight consecutive plays before a holding call stalled the drive.

On the Buffs’ next possession, the CU offense didn’t go three-and-out … it went three-and-in.

A loss on a running play, followed by a sack of Steven Montez, left the Buffs with a third-and-22 at their eight yard line. There, Steven Montez was intercepted for the first time in three games, with the pick-six by Ajene Harris making it a 28-7 game with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

On the Buffs’ next drive, completions of 24 yards to Laviska Shenault and 15 yards to Tony Brown helped pad the stats sheet, but the drive ended with an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-three at the USC 35-yard line.

The teams then traded three-and-outs again – this time with the Trojans going three-and-out twice to the Buffs’ once – before the CU offense trotted onto the field, taking over at its 35- yard line.

The Buffs then embarked on their longest drive of the night. The odyssey included an 18-yard completion from Steven Montez to K.D. Nixon on third-and-18 from the CU 40, a 15-yard run by Steven Montez on fourth-and-14 at the USC 46, and pass interference penalty against the Trojans on fourth-and-12 at the USC 22.

In all, the drive took 18 plays, covered 65 yards, and took 6:57 off of the fourth quarter clock before Kyle Evans scored on a two-yard run to make it a 28-14 game with 6:42 to play.

CU’s first onside kick attempt of the season did not succeed, setting up the USC offense at the CU 48-yard line. Six plays later, with the aid of a pass interference penalty giving the Ball to the Trojans at the CU 20-yard line, USC settled for a 38-yard field goal by Michael Brown, making it a three-score game, at 31-14, with just over five minutes remaining in the game.

The next Buff drive was only seemingly meaningful in that it marked the first appearance of red-shirt freshman wide receiver Jaylon Jackson who had been sidelined with injuries the first part of the season. Completions to Jackson of five and 14 yards (along with a personal foul call against the Trojans) set up the Buffs at the USC 39-yard line.

On fourth-and-ten three plays later, the drive was kept alive on a pass interference call against USC. Shortly thereafter, on fourth-and-five at the USC 19-yard line, quarterback Steven Montez ran the ball in for a touchdown to bring some consolation to the Buff Nation.

The touchdown made it a 31-20 game, with CU’s two-point conversion attempt (which would only have made it a nine-point game in any case) failed.

The Buffs were successful on onside kick attempt No. 2 of the game, giving the ball back to the offense with 3:19 to play.

There would be no miracle ending, however, as the Buffs turned the ball over on downs a few plays later, having gained zero yards on four plays … a fitting way to end the game.

Final score: USC 31, Colorado 20

“I think they had us figured out,” said Steven Montez, who went 25-for-46 for 170 yards, with an interception and four sacks. “When we had some of the play calls and had some good calls, maybe we shot ourselves in the foot. It was a bunch of different penalties. We need to clean it up.”

“It’s always tough to deal with a loss after a promising first half of the season,” said linebacker Nate Landman. “The way we’ll take it is as a positive and a learning experience. They’re down (in the locker room), but they’re heads are up, looking forward to Washington.”

Game Notes … 

— USC upped its series record against Colorado to 13-0, becoming just the second team to ever have such a streak against the Buffs (Nebraska, 18 straight wins, 1968-85);



18 Replies to “Oct. 13th – USC 31, No. 19 Colorado 20”

  1. It’s gut check time. All the national reports were that this team was less than they looked. It is time for the team to decide if that is true or not. Washington is beatable but will be angry after their loss to Oregon. Our guys should be angry as well and we shall see who plays angrier. I believe in Coach Mac and Coach Chev. I believe they have both moved the team in the right direction. Now can they respond as well. Don’t believe the hype and don’t believe the hate. Just focus on what you do. I think this is a solid team capable of winning each game but we can’t get lazy or complacent.

    Let’s GO BUFFS! Now is when we can really show the nation what we are made of.

  2. TE? what then hell is that? Might as well use them as receiver with the matador blocking we see . If we actually do that to surprise Udub I will quit drinking bass ale for a month….ok maybe a week….oh what the hell for a year…and I know I’m safe.
    I think we have seen the entire playbook. If we were ever going to bring the ace out of our sleeve this would have been the time. If nothing else a TE running a route would at least occupy one of the 3 or 4 DBs buzzing around Viska like flies or a linebacker making those tackles for losses. Someone needs to send Captain Obvious over to have a talk with Chev.
    I hate to say this cause I hate the Longwhorns almost as much as the creamed corn. Well maybe more now. The corn are just downright pitiful. But i digress. Chev needs to watch Herman’s offense and route designs AND use Steve’s arm downfield a lot more where he and the Buffs seem to have more success than sideline passes to Viska which everyone in the conference is waiting for now.

  3. if, if , if
    this aint horseshoes and hand grenades….even though the O line looked like they were constantly getting hit with hand grenades. Not only do we need some big nasty jimmy and joes on the O line the coaches need to go back to the Bo Schembechler handbook on the fundamentals of blocking. Using the entire line for misdirection is like having no o line at all.
    If some of you new 4 star O and D line recruits are listening….come to Colorado where you can play early

  4. Yeah, we’ve still got a ways to go before we challenge for the top of the pac 12. Maybe we’re now starting to move up towards the middle. That’s actually a big improvement, but still frustratingly slow.

    Recruiting of skilled positions has gotten a lot better, but checking the roster, there are 18 O-line guys listed and 10 of them are freshmen or red-shirt freshmen. The junior class has 5, but what is going on with the senior class (1 guy) and the sophomore class (2 guys)? At some point we’ve got to get out of this pattern where we continually need to play freshmen on the O-line.

  5. Were those really our honest to goodness coaches at that game or did the CU Athl. Dept. go down on Alvira St. in LA and put masks and dress up some guys off the street? While it seemed that CU attempted to do over and over………lots of sideways plays, dink and dunk, they were totally stymied by some really good football players that had had 2 weeks to prepare.

    Yes, supposedly you take what the D is giving you but one would have hoped that although what has worked in the past doesn’t always work against superior talent. I’m not asking for a bunch of trick plays, but it would have been nice to see some new stuff at least thrown in for a change…….TE, a few more screens maybe some draws, having the QB under center and running right at USC.

    Conclusion this is a pretty darn good CU team, that is still a year away of being able to play with the likes of USC, and probably Udub this next week. They can still have a good season, but for gosh sakes be a little more imaginative down the stretch. This is what occurred under the dearly departed OC as by the second half of the year the opposition had figured out what we were going to do.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. The play calling was not up to the standards established earlier this year. SC was clearly keying on Visoa, and were being very aggressive… seemed like they were in our backfield on every play. Some screens, draws, misdirects…. anything to make them think about sending the house on every play. But, honestly, it was obvious that their athleticism ( at least their def vs, our off) was clearly superior. I thought our defense played well ( with the exception of deep pass coverage),
      USC finally played like everyone thought they would when the season began. We ran into them at the wrong time coming off the bye week.

  6. 8 and 4 would be just fine. Actually 7-5 would be okay. Bowl game. Win 2 out of the last 6. Figure 2 of them are at home and OSU is one of them so…………/ Speaking of OSU, they were on a bye week. No question the Lingering Earche was at that game putting the voodo on the Buffs and Chev. There can be no other reason for the Lindy lu play calling and lindy lu results.

    Up the Buffalo.

    Note: Hey 10 and 2 and 9 and 3 are possible……….Butts

  7. Every year i watch this game the same things pop’s into my head. SC is always superior at well everything. CU will never be able to recruit,coach or play on their level. Not the way this coaching staff recruits or calls plays at the present. I firmly believe this is the best the BUFFS are going to be with MM leading this team. Every once in a while they might have the 2006 season repeated but mostly 4-7 win seasons and a lot of seasons with no bowl games. Shouldn’t we expect a bit more ? I still support the kids and want nothing but the best for them. Hopefully they will finish this season out strong and with Oregon State still on the schedule a bowl game is in the future. Finishing 6-6 is distinct possibility. GO BUFFS !!!

  8. Way too many players on this team with the mediocre skill-set often found on mid-tier Mountain West teams.

    ESPN summed it up well when they said said CU displayed a “punchless running game” and “dismal downfield coverage”.

    Looking ahead:
    With some luck, 7-5
    Then, a game in an obscure Bowl, with a resulting loss.

  9. Can someone please teach Wigley to turn around and look for the ball. He did the same crap last year over and over !!!
    Also… Chev terrible play calling!!!
    Enough with the jet sweeps!!!!
    you run them every others play.
    What happen to the quick slants or medium post routs. If Laviska is getting double teamed constantly, the middle is wide open all the time
    Your killing me !!!!!

  10. Went to bed after the pick-6…seen enough. So, just wondering if USC will, (or already has) become CU’s Pac-12 Nebraska? Seems Buffs begin folding by virtue of simply seeing those uniforms over on the other side. 0-fer in their history? Should have a victory by virtue of the odds alone. This is weird, and I don’t like it one little bit. That said, preseason predictions indicated a bowl game would be considered a successful season this year. This team looks far better than merely 6 wins. Further…a relatively young team as well. Let’s see hoe they respond…

  11. That was a tough loss, and tougher dose of reality. My thought going in was if CU played as they had been (execution wise) and SC as they had been, CU would win a close one. SC played like the team they were expected to be. CU didn’t.

    I remember a time when LaVark would use quotes like this “They kind of had us figured out” as an indictment of the offensive coordinator. This game was lost in the trenches (glad you at least acknowledged that one big fella). But, predictably, he now throws his ire at that coach. Really, it’s just a reminder to keep working to find those big, athletic linemen who are man-children at 18.

    I do think leaning less on Viska (apparently he’s got 40% of CU’s receptions) and trying to stretch the field vertically a bit more early may be helpful going forward. But, that’s for Chev, Adams et al to figure out. It just seems “getting your play makers in space” can be tough, when the defense is as fast or faster than they are, and every play is designed to start at or behind the line of scrimmage (or in some cases three yards ahead of it).

    On the bright side, at least the defense stopped the run. It’s been a while since we could say that – even including the Leavitt years. That will be key again this week in Seattle.

    The other thing is Miller’s young. He was all over their receivers. Too much so, in fact (see PI calls). But, that’s good. He can learn from, and improve on that. That play to Pittman that started the deluge? They were inches from Daniel’s arms, which would’ve been a huge play. And if Davion doesn’t fall, he had a chance to make that play on the under thrown ball. For a linebacker, he did a nice job staying w/a speedy receiver, in the first place.

    The concerning thing for this week is UW’s defense, while maybe not as fast as SC’s, they’re probably better all around.

    But? Going back to the real world, these two road games were supposed to be losses anyway. It’s about stealing a win. Can they do that in Seattle? Sure. But, not if they play like they did yesterday.

    Nevertheless, this is another good opportunity to regroup, get better and move on. And, certainly UW’s got their issues, too. Friggin’ Pac 12 is tough sledding. But, this year is still another bright spot along the path of CU football playing better, and making its way back to consistent relevancy in the national picture.

    I mean, looking ahead, who’s coming back on offense? Defense? Wow. Keep the train rolling. It will gather more steam.

    This is also shaping up to be yet another year where the CU/UT game will have some high stakes. That’s not a bad thing.

    Go Buffs

  12. I couldn’t believe or understand what the heck we were thinking in the 4th Q when we lined up for a 2 point conversion… it turns out the CU coaching staff and team didn’t KNOW they had scored a TD and thus thought they were going 4th and goal from the 1! What?! That, in a nutshell, tells me this coaching staff was as lathargic and unprepared as our pass protection was all night.

    Kudos to an always talented USC team, but the couple of shots of Coach MacIntyre on the sidelines in the first Q showed him completely uptight and that set the tone for the team to not play “loose” for the first time this season. Frustrating.

    And why on Earth did this coaching staff not respect USC’s speed on D? Even late in the 4th we kept acting like somehow we were going to outrun SC’s speed on the edges. Terrible play calling in that respect. You take on speedy D by going right AT them, not by trying to run around them. Grrrr…

    1. There is a pic that shows 1 ref raising his hands. But Mein Gott that was just terrible for the coaches to be lost. And they were. And they were on not using time outs. Who the hell is in charge out there? MickeyMac you got to be in the game. Sheesh


  13. O line was terrible. Washington is now a loss for sure with their D. Ditto with Utah.
    Montez says they knew what we re going to do. No kidding? the sideways passes are getting extremely redundant. We arent slipping back into lindgrenzing are we?

  14. Go Buffs. Ye ol Stats. Watched it. Some good plays some not so good plays. Some bad plays. Some good (a couple) play calls. 5 and 1 Gotta get that bowl game……….for the extra practices……
    half way through 5 and 1. Well okay 2 weeks in the top 25……..Gonna be tough to stay in it…..Lotta chaos yesterday………..And Washington next week…………..and Oregon next year………….

    Note: It was a total team loss. Coaches players fanatics. (Think 99)
    Note 2: The very first Buffs O play was a summary of Buffs.
    Note 3: Unfortunately the first defensive play of the game did not indicate the future.
    Note 4. 26 of 47 passing?
    Note 5: USC ran 61 plays. Buffs ran 84. Hurry up offense to nowhere.
    Note 6: Mac just looks so “blah- lost/kinda” on the sideline. Demeanor set by him. Dang it.
    Note 7: Montez reverted to 2016.
    Note 8 But wait the Oline was just a terrible mess. Turrible. Worse performance. No time for the qb, no space for the rb. There is no question the oline, has it has been for just about forever a/the weak link on the team. The oline was whipped, beaten and out schemed. USC owned em, confused em and beat em up. Adams? Just haven’t seen if from ya….this being the fourth year trying to be the Buffs oline coach
    Lost Note: Anybody seen Bernardi. The last buddy holdover.
    Note 9: Now the Chev O? Mid season slump? Out schemed by a defensive professional?
    Note 10: Did I mention the Oline….So gave up 4 sacks and 16 tackles for loss. SIXTEEN. 25% of Buffs plays lost yardage. TWENTY FIVE PERCENT. The O coaches got out schemed. No adjustments this game. The Oline playing against a real Dline (2 freshman) showed the known talent level discrepency. Unfortunately the Buff coaching could not close this gap.

    Summary notes: They are who we though they were…….You are what your record says you are…20 and 12 over the last 32 games…..Bow game still guaranteed 100%….Which one…??…
    Win the South? Hmmm who is gonna beat SC? …Buffs have to win out?

    Okay then Mighty Buffs keep going 10 and 2 won’t get ya the south but it will get ya a nice bowl and ranked…………It can be done……The Mighty Buffs can do it.

    1. I don’t know about 10-2, but I think 9-3 is possible. Even 8-4 is still respectable after a full decade of being one of the worst teams in the country! (I think Utah and Wash St are both going to be difficult for us).
      I also found myself looking for Lindgren on the sidelines. How many times were we going to run the ball up the middle, or throw a 2-yard pass, on 3rd and long….

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