USC football: Studs and duds in the Trojans’ win over Colorado

John McCoy/Getty Images
John McCoy/Getty Images /
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John McCoy/Getty Images
John McCoy/Getty Images /

Wide receiver Michael Pittman was a stud for USC football in their 31-20 win over Colorado, scoring a pair of touchdowns. But who else stood out?

USC-CU. Recap and Lowdown

The USC football team turned in another utterly confounding performance on Saturday night at the Coliseum, looking dominant in some areas and astoundingly inept in others.

Who starred and who didn’t? Here’s a look at the studs and duds in the Trojans’ 31-20 win against Colorado.

Let’s start on the offensive side of things…


Michael Pittman

When USC needs a big play, they often rely on their big playmakers. Michael Pittman was without a doubt that guy in the victory, with a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter. The scores not only proved the difference in the game, but provided a much-needed jolt for the offense. All told he had five catches for 144 yards to go along with those scores.

Palaie Gaoteote

Filling in with a satisfactory performance for Cameron Smith would’ve been acceptable for Palaie Gaoteote. Yet his performance was so beyond satisfactory, it could serve as Exhibit A for why he could —or should— be wearing the No. 55 jersey. The true freshman had a team-high nine tackles in his second-career start, including two behind the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately, he was just too physical, as his night ended after colliding with Laviska Shenault and displaying concussion-like symptoms.

Porter Gustin

He’s yet to be at 100 percent this year, but Porter Gustin keeps putting in dominant performances as a pure pass rusher. The Pac-12’s sack leader registered another 2.5 tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks, to run his season-long total to seven in about four-and-a-half games of actual playing time. However, like Gaoteote, his outing was cut short with an ankle injury.

Marvell Tell

He didn’t have the interceptions or tackles for loss to show for it, but Marvell Tell turned in arguably his finest game of the year for the Trojans. He recorded a pair of pass breakups and was all over the field, even late in the game when most of USC’s defense started to wear down.

Ajene Harris

It was a record night for senior defensive back Ajene Harris, who had his third career interception returned for a touchdown. The pick six, a tipped pass to Laviska Shenault, brought him even with Charles Phillips and Nickell Robey, creating a three-way tie for USC’s all-time record.

[Insert defensive player here]

The Trojans were stellar on defense Saturday night, making it easy to forget some downright stud performances for Clancy Pendergast’s group. Consider them all studs here.