USC vs. Colorado: Gameday Preview, Injuries, Lineups, and Links


USC vs. Colorado

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum | Los Angeles, CA3:00 PM Pacific | Pac-12 NetworksAll-time Series: USC leads 8-0Last meeting: USC 47, Colorado 29 in 2013, at Boulder

It’s homecoming in Troy as USC welcomes alumni back to the Coliseum with the Colorado Buffaloes on tap for a midafternoon clash.

The Trojans are riding high after last week’s road victory over then-No. 10 Arizona, but questions still linger after another fourth quarter lead was blown. Though the win serves as redemption for an up-and-down season, USC still has a lot to do if the men of Troy have any intention of competing for the Pac-12 south title.

Colorado may be the only team in the division with no hope of capturing said title, coming into today’s game with back to back losses. Having said that, the Buffaloes have proven this year that they no longer intend to be pushovers, challenging Cal and Oregon State in games decided by eight points combined. As 21-point underdogs, they’ll be looking to get in on some of that Pac-12 road team magic and play the spoiler for the Trojans.

Of course, to do that Colorado would have to do something that has never been done before by a Buffalo squad: beat USC. In eight meetings, the Trojans have prevailed, as they did last year by a lopsided score in Boulder.


In our USC vs. Colorado preview podcast, Michael Castillo hosts and is joined by Reign of Troy editor Alicia de Artola and Josh Webb of and to talk about the Trojans’ new helmets and the Buffaloes’ chances of pulling off the upset.

Gameday Links:

USC Injury Report:

  • Out for the season: Kenny Bigelow (knee), Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (academics), Jabari Ruffin (knee), Jordan Austin (hip), Chris Willson (foot), Christian Tober (collarbone), Tre Madden (toe), Lamar Dawson (knee)
  • Out: Josh Shaw (ankles/suspended), Jordan Simmons (knee), Ajene Harris (hamstring), Soma Vainuku (hamstring)
  • Probable: Adoree’ Jackson (hip) , Kevon Seymour (illness), Andre Heidari (groin), Leonard Williams (shoulder)

Bookmark our Injury Report and News Ticker to stay up to date on USC injury news.

Colorado Injury Report:

  • Out for the season: S Jered Bell (knee), WR Elijah Dunston (knee), DE Tyler Henington (knee),WR Lee Walker (shoulder), John Paul Tuso (knee)
  • Probable: Addison Gillam (concussion), Christian Powell (concussion)

When Colorado has the ball…

Much like Arizona’s Anu Solomon, Colorado features a young, exciting quarterback who has become no stranger to putting up big numbers this season. Sophomore Sefo Liufau has the Buffs in the top half of the conference in passing yards this season and his 19 touchdowns place him third in the Pac-12 rankings for 2014.

Unfortunately for Colorado, he’s still prone to youthful mistakes as his seven interceptions prove.

Even so, the Buffaloes will surely attempt to take advantage of USC’s often-porous pass defense with Nelson Spruce and Shay Fields, a former Trojan commit, aiding the air attack.

Though the run game will likely be on the backburner, Christian Powell leads the Colorado ground attack, with a stable of other running backs also pitching in.

Leonard Williams and company will need to put more pressure on Liufau than they’ve managed against other quarterbacks this season. Colorado is second in the Pac-12 in sacks allowed, so it will not be a cake walk getting to the QB either. Still, if they can rattle the young player Colorado’s offense will unravel.

Projected Starting Lineups

Colorado Offense:WR #8 Shay FieldsWR #22 Nelson SpruceWR #3 D.D. GoodsonLT #76 Jeromy IrwinLG #54 Kaiwi CrabbC #74 Alex KelleyRG #52 Daniel MunyerRT #77 Stephane NembotTE #81 Sean IrwinQB #13 Sefo LiufauTB #46 Christian PowellFB #18 George Frazier

USC Defense:DT #90 Claude Pelon OR #52 Delvon SimmonsNT #99 Antwaun WoodsDE #94 Leonard WilliamsRE #58 J.R. TavaiSOLB #47 Scott Felix / #21 Su’a CravensMILB #10 Hayes PullardWILB #56 Anthony SaraoCB #13 Kevon SeymourFS #27 Gerald Bowman OR #22 Leon McQuay IIISS #21 Su’a CravensCB #4 Chris Hawkins OR #2 Adoree’ Jackson

When USC has the ball…

The Buffs may be improved this season but their defense could not be accused of giving teams too hard a time in 2014. They give up an average of nearly 36 points per game.

With a rush defense allowing a Pac-12 worst five yards per carry on the year, USC should have Buck Allen locked in and ready to go as he looks to further solidify his national standing.

Allen’s ability to put in another big performance will be especially key because Colorado’s pass defense is actually rather  decent. They have held teams to an average of 249 yards through the air and a 55% completion rating. Starting strong safety Tedric Thompson has produced three interceptions on his own, while upperclassmen Greg Henderson and Ken Crawley have shown ample ability breaking up passes along with free safety Chidobe Awuzie.

Colorado has shown no great ability to generate sacks or get behind the line for tackles and their defensive line is mostly unspectacular, so this could be an opportunity for the Trojan offensive front to assert themselves and really put their stamp on the game.

Projected Starting Lineups

USC Offense:WR #9 JuJu SmithWR #15 Nelson AgholorTE #82 Randall TelferRT #73 Zach BannerRG #51 Damien Mama OR #60 Viane TalamaivaoC #75 Max TuerkLG #50 Toa LobendahnLT #72 Chad WheelerWR #8 George FarmerQB #6 Cody KesslerFB #38 Jahleel PinnerTB #37 Javorius Allen

Colorado Defense:DE #95 Derek McCartneyDT #55 Josh TupouDT #56 Juda ParkerDE #98 Jimmie GilbertMLB #44 Addison GillamWLB #31 Kenneth OlugbodeSLB #37 Woodson GreerCB #20 Greg HendersonSS #9 Tedric ThompsonFS #4 Chidobe AwuzieCB #2 Ken CrawleyNICKLE #12 John Walker