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Colorado Buffaloes Vs. USC Trojans: Key Match-Ups

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The Trojans are 40 point favorites, but I don't think the game will be that much of a blowout. Let's see what has to happen to keep USC from destroying our Buffaloes

Doug Pensinger - Getty Images

I won't get to watch this game (I still haven't had a chance to watch the full-version of the Arizona State game), and I'm not that broken up about it. Oh sure, I may have a few hours to re-watch the Trojan's do their worst to the Buffaloes sometime after I get back to town next week, but will I want to?

Short answer: I will. I think the Buffs are close to being able to build off the two solid first halves of football they have played the last two weeks. So let's take a look at where I think we'll have a chance to compete

Follow the jump because Tom Hardy's Moustache from the movie "Bronson" has something to tell you!

Offense:

  • Colorado's Running Back Corps vs. The Trojans Front Seven - Okay, I don't actually see us "winning" this matchup, let's be honest, but with Christian Powell (hopefully) coming back, I think we finally see the beginnings of a truly effective rotation at tailback. It may happen out of necessity to work Powell back onto the field, but however it happens, Bieniemy figuring out how to use his Backs might be the biggest development for this offense we can hope for this season.
  • Tight Ends vs. The Ball - Our Wide Receivers (Gerald Thomas aside) have shown us what they are. They are solid, with solid hands, but none of them are 'special' or are truly able to hurt a defense. This isn't to say that they aren't good, but there's nothing scary about them. The only group on offense we have that can really test a defense right now are our tight ends, and they need to get plenty of touches against USC. Nick Kasa, Vincent Hobbs, DaVaughn Thornton & Co. need to be targeted early and often for us to have any hope of spreading out the Trojan's defense and keep their offense off the field.
  • The CU Front vs. A Pack of Trojans - Blocking, blocking, blocking, blocking, blocking. Have I said it enough? The offensive line has shown us a few signs of improvement recently, and they need to build on that. Small steps won't be enough against USC, we're going to need to see strides made up front by our linemen. Stephane Nembot needs to grow up quickly, and the calls need to be made quickly and correctly.
Defense:
  • Kenneth Crawley & Greg Henderson vs. Best WRs in Nation - Robert Woods and Marquise Lee. That's all you need to know about this matchup. Our corners need to play with confidence and not allow whatever success these guys have against them (and they will have some success against them) to rattle them as the game wears on. While Woods and Lee are supremely talented, they do make mistakes, drop passes, and carry the ball loosely and dangerously. I'm not saying this is a matchup we can win, but we can make some effort to limit the damage this guys do. This is one of those games where we'll be happy Crawley plays far off his man, believe me.
  • Pass Rush vs. Generating a Pass Rush - Chidera Uzo-Diribe, you could elevate your draft stock for next year with a good game, and we'll need you to. If Matt Barkley has time, he can do just about whatever he wants out there, and his WRs are great at getting open. Kirk Poston, Juda Parker, Will Pericak and the rest of the guys may be in even better position to make something happen as the Trojans are having some issues in the middle of that offensive line of theirs, but Uzo-Diribe is the most talented Pass Rusher we have and we will be counting on him.
  • CU Safeties vs. Having Their Best Game Ever - Seriously. USC has tight ends that can make you pay, they've got a much better running game than anyone predicted they would have this season (thanks primarily to Penn State...) and their wide receivers are happy to go over the middle. Colorado's safeties need to have a phenomenal game (Ray Polk, please get healthy) to prevent USC from mopping the floor (field?) with the Buffs.
Special Teams Note:
  • This unit has been anything but 'special' for CU this season, but they'll need to be on point to keep the Trojans from scoring even in this 1/3 of the game. If you thought ASU had talented specialists, just wait until Darragh O'Neill outkicks his coverage... I just got the shivers...