What are some storylines to follow for this Pac-12 matchup?
Finally. Home sweet home. I’m sure most of the Trojans are thinking that right now. The final six games of the year feature USC at the Coliseum four times and in L.A. five. There’s nothing like strapping on the Cardinal jersey to play in front of the 93,000-plus faithful.
And what better way to start the L.A. circuit than to play Colorado, the worst team in the Pac-12? It’s an easy pick-me-up, nearly guaranteed win. The question is will the team finally cover a game (not that gambling’s legal or anything). Here are some key questions I hope we get answers to.
1. The passing game: Will it happen?
Let’s be real. Colorado is a poor football team, getting blown out/embarrassingly losing all its games save one, when it beat Washington State by one point. One point! Here are its results:
Colorado State: loss, 22-17
Sacramento State (FCS): loss, 30-28
Fresno State: loss, 69-14
Washington St.: win, 35-34
UCLA: loss, 42-14
Arizona State: loss, 51-17
The point is this game has to be a blowout to relieve any concern about the Trojans. And as such, the Buffaloes secondary will not be able to contain Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Remember, Matt Barkley broke the school record for touchdowns in a game against the Buffs in Boulder, Colo. last year. The passing game FINALLY (knock on wood) does its thing.
2. How dominant will the defense look?
The best all year, and that’ll due in large part to Colorado’s personnel. They have three running backs (Christian Powell, Tony Jones, Josh Ford) that have good yard-per-carry clips. But the passing attack without former Serra star Paul Richardson leaves a lot to be desired. Quarterback Jordan Webb boasts a 56.5-completion percentage, 5.91 yards per attempt, eight touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s not exactly setting the world on fire. Open up the floodgates for more Morgan Breslin and Leonard Williams.
The past three games, Redd’s number has been called the most of any tailback on the roster, and he’s answered the call. Why shift the philosophy? The depth chart still lists Redd and McNeal as co-starters, but on the field, it’s the Penn State transfer over Moody. For the sake of keeping legs fresh for the upcoming schedule, a 50-50 split may be more likely.
4. Can the team use this game as a springboard for its upcoming schedule?
They certainly can and need to. Not to completely look past and disregard Colorado, but even cornerback Nickell Robey said, "We're not worried about Colorado. We're worried about ourselves." The match is about USC's dominance. The game comes at the perfect time, before USC’s sneakily monster back half of the schedule: Oregon (maybe twice), UCLA and Notre Dame will all be incredibly tough, and the Trojans need to be on its A-plus-plus game. An easy win against a Pac-12 foe will not only boost its conference standings, but the team’s confidence.
If you’re a lucky soul with the Pac-12 Network, then you can catch the game at 3 p.m. PDT.
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