On a frigid, 29-degree night in Boulder, Colo. The USC Trojans took a 9-0 lead over the Colorado Buffaloes in the first quarter of the game.
There was much confusion in the opening minutes due to play clock issues. After four plays the officials rendered the clocks useless and announced they would keep time themselves. A little later, an ineligible receiver penalty on Colorado caused even more trouble. Interim head coach Ed Orgeron wanted to decline the penalty, forcing the refs to move the spot of the ball twice and explain what was happening.
Thanks to the penalty, the USC defense quickly swept the Buffs off the field, though to Colorado’s credit, it did pick up a few first downs in its opening drive.
Cody Kessler and the offense took to the field for the first time, and their first two plays didn’t amount to much. Then, Kessler heaved it down field to freshman wide receiver Darreus Rogers, who fielded the catch for a 29-yard gain on third down. On its next third down, Kessler scrambled and hit Nelson Agholor at the 24-yard line.
Keeping the drive alive, Kessler rolled out of the pocket and hit tight end Xavier Grimble in the flats, and he trucked his way across the first-down marker. In the Colorado redzone, Buck Allen got stuffed behind the line of scrimmage on first down. On the next play, Allen took the toss 12 yards into the endzone for the first USC score of the night.
As USC was setting up to kick the extra point, Colorado got flagged again, this time for being offsides. Andre Heidari put the kick right between the uprights, putting USC up 7-0.
Pressure from the Trojan defensive line moved Colorado off the field in three attempts, and the USC offense took over on downs again. It would produce nothing for the Trojans, who were forced to play their fifth string tailback, Ty Isaac, after Allen went down with an arm/shoulder injury, following his touchdown.
Colorado went three-and-out again, and USC fullback Soma Vainuku blocked the punt into the endzone, giving USC three points. It was his third blocked punt of the season, and with it, USC extended its lead 9-0.