Well here we go. These next two weeks were scary when we all broke down the schedule in the offseason, now they look like a downright nightmare. Colorado heads into Los Angeles as 41 point underdogs to the home USC Trojans. Can they pull off the upset? Eh... Here's what it will take to even have a chance.
Knock Matt Barkley around a bit
USC is allowing about 2 sacks of quarterback Matt Barkley per game. For the Buffaloes to have a chance to pull off the upset they have to continue to put pressure on the QB and at least double that number. 3-4 sacks, numerous hurries. The USC offensive line has struggled at times but Barkley, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee are too good to be allowed to run free and execute the passing game. Colorado has been successful making plays behind the line of scrimmage, but it will take an even better effort to have a chance today.
Hand the ball to Christian Powell. Rinse. Repeat
The Trojan defense has been stout against the run with opponents averaging just over 110 yards per game. The Buffaloes have shown a frustrating tendency to head away from the running game too quickly. That can't happen today. Run the ball, eat up the clock. Christian Powell returns today and should receive a hefty number of carries. Wear down the USC defensive line as much as possible and let a fresh Tony Jones come in and change it up with speed.
Use Ray Polk's return to play a mistake free game in the secondary
First off, mistake free does not mean perfect. That does not mean that I'm asking the secondary to hold the up-and-down but insanely talented Trojans passing attack to season lows. But Colorado can not give up quick and easy drives due to breakdowns in the secondary. Ray Polk has to keep our young corners lined up correctly and make sure that there are no busts. Limit the big plays today.
Finish the game, all four quarters
Against both Arizona State and UCLA, the Buffaloes played extremely tough first-halves only to fall apart in the second. Whatever is happening in the locker isn't working and the coaching staff has to ask themselves if they are making the right adjustments. There can't be any quit against a team like USC, these Buffaloes will need to give it their all for four full quarters.
What are your keys to today's game?