USC vs. Colorado September 14, 2002; QB Carson Palmer
The No. 21*USC Trojans (6-2) visit the Colorado Buffaloes (1-8) in cold Boulder this Friday night on ESPN in a trap game. The Trojans are banged up from a tough three OT loss to the No. 4* Stanford Cardinal and have one less day to prepare for this game.
We take it one week at a time. It’s only a one day difference. We have to get ready. We have to move on. We’re 6-2 and we want to stay with two losses only. Guys are hurt; that’s how it should be. There’s a couple of guys crying. It was a tough loss, but we have to be able to bounce back.
The teams have played only five times and USC has never lost. The game is approaching a sellout and this would be the third straight game the Trojans have played in front of a capacity crowd.
The Buffs will have the weather in their favor as the current high for the day is forecasted to be 44 degrees and it will be colder in the night game. If the weather holds, there should be no snow which is good news for the fair weather Californians.
Here is the USC Media Release.
Key Stats Comparison
|Rushing Offense (Yards)||146||74||90||114|
|Passing Offense (Yards)||286.5||24||245.1||48|
|Total Offense (Yards||432.5||36||335.1||98|
|Scoring Offense (Points)||32.4||38||18.8||111|
|Passing Efficiency (Percent)||151.3||19||124.7||76|
|Third Down Conversions (Percent)||45.6||36||35.6||T-94|
|Red Zone Conversions (TDs)||51.4||95||54.6||T-102|
|Sacks allowed (Number)||0.5||T-3||3.1||107|
|Rushing Defense (Yards)||103||16||185.7||85|
|Pass Defense (Yards)||273.3||102||248.9||92|
|Total Defense (Yards)||376.3||54||434.6||100|
|Scoring Defense (Points)||26.8||64||38.3||117|
|Tackles for Loss (Number)||4.38||108||5.22||82|
|Net Punting (Yards/Punt)||33.8||107||38.3||28|
|Punt Returns (Yards)||10.1||41||4.8||104|
|Kickoff Returns (Yards)||19.2||104||18.5||110|
|FG Success (Percent)||86.7||13||75||T-39|
Keys to USC victory
The Trojans dominate all the stats except red zone conversions, pass defense, sacks, tackles for loss, net punting and kickoff returns.
Trojans QB Matt Barkley needs just 108 yards of total offense to move into third on the school's all-time total offense list.
As long as USC builds on the Stanford game and continue to play aggressive defense and makes few mistakes on offense they will beat the Buffs.
The one thing that USC knows in this situation is that you cannot take any team for granted and expect to win.
Folsom Field is a mile above sea level and the thinner air may have the Trojans huffing and puffing in the second half. So it is important for USC to get an early lead and build on that.
The Trojans have lost a lot of players this season including CB Anthony Brown (ankle), TE Christian Thomas (hip), LB Marquis Simmons (neck), C Abe Markowitz (foot), CB Brian Baucham (ineligible), DT Armond Armstead (medical), TE Junior Pomee (foot), DE-FB Charles Burks (knee), OG Giovanni Di Poalo (shoulder), S Patrick Hall (knee), CB Taylor Ashton (appendix), S Troy Cardona (foot), WR Cody Gifford (ankle) and OG-C John Katnik (shoulder).
Keys to Colorado Buffaloes Victory
Colorado has faced a barrage of injuries; five players suspended for the rest of the season and many players on the disabled list.
The Buffs have a passing offense led by senior QB Tyler Hansen (2,029 yards, 56.7 percent, 14 TDs, 6 INTs and 129.3 rating). He ranks in the school's all-time Top 10 charts in passing yards, pass completions, passing TDs and total offense.
Stewart sprained his knee against Washington and didn’t play against Arizona State. Freshman RB Malcolm Creer gave up his redshirt and played instead, but he had only six yards on four carries. RB Josh Ford had 73 yards on 10 carries. However, Stewart is likely to return against the Trojans.
The problem for the Buffs is that Richardson injured his knee on October 9 and hasn’t played since then. However, he is also likely to return against USC.
Hansen spreads the ball as seven players have more than 13 receptions.
The Buffs defense is ranked No. 100 nationally and will have a tough time stopping both the Trojan passing and rushing attacks. Safety Anthony Perkins is the tackle leader that lost key ILB Douglas Rippy to a knee injury.
Two injured defensive players are likely to return for the USC game: starting CB Travis Sandersfeld and CB Vince Ewing.
They will need to force Trojan turnovers and keep third down conversions under 40 percent to slow down the USC offense.
Colorado will be a better team than they have been in recent games.
Dual-footed frreshman punter Darragh O'Neill is in the nation's Top 30 in punting.
USC opened as a 21 point favorite; however anything can happen in this game.
USC 34, Colorado 17
Catch the nationally televised game on ESPN or ESPN 3D this Friday at 9:00 p.m. ET if you can’t make it in person.
*Week 10 AP ranking