Saturday’s matchup between the Colorado Buffaloes and the USC Trojans has huge Pac-12 implications. The winner has the ability to control the Pac-12 South, and the loser has to play catch-up the rest of the way. But who are the Trojans this year, and where is Sam Darnold? I just assumed he would stay forever to terrorize the Buffs.
To correct my terrible assumptions, Dina Colunga from Conquest Chronicles set the record straight.
USC had a much-needed bye week before this game. What did USC have to work on and who got healthy over the break?
The biggest issue is not being able to play a full four quarters of football. If the offense is playing well the defense will let teams come back, if the defense is playing well the offense has trouble scoring. USC needs to mesh together so one side of the ball isn’t carrying the whole team. Penalties have also been a huge issue for USC. Against Arizona they had 18 penalties for 169 yards, USC can’t let that can’t happen against most teams and still expect a victory. As for injuries luckily we had a bye week for linebacker Cam Smith is nursing a tight hamstring and is 50/50 for Saturday, Porter Gustin also nursed an ankle injury over the week and is most likely playing on Saturday. We had a couple injuries during the bye week which is frustrating, defensive lineman Brandon Pili got stepped on but is probably with a minor toe injury for Saturday.
The safety position seems dangerously thin for the Trojans. Who starts on Saturday for USC and is the deep ball an option for the Buffs?
True freshman Talanoa Hufanga will start beside veteran Marvell Tell. We may also see sophomore C.J. Pollard get some rotation as well. The deep ball is definitely an option for Colorado, while Hufanga is extremely talented and has come up with a few clutch disruptions, he is still a true freshman and I’m sure Laviska Shenault and Steven Montez will try to take advantage of his youth.
A lot of the offensive production this year for the Trojans has come from extremely young players. Is this a sign of amazing young talent or a dearth of veteran playmakers?
One thing that USC never lacks is talent, and while the Trojans have amazing play makers in true freshmen JT Daniels and Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC would not have the offensive success they have been having as of late without the services of veteran wide receivers Tyler Vaughns and Michael Pittman Jr.. Vaughns has the ability to catch the most difficult balls and Pittman Jr. is a monster target at 6-foot-4. Senior running back Aca’Cedric Ware has also been crucial for the Trojans moving the ball on tough downs. Though the young talent is definitely the most exciting thing for USC fans to watch going forward.
Who are the players to watch on offense or defense?
On defense: true freshman safety Talanoa Hufanga, safety Marvell Tell, cornerback Iman Marshall, and linebacker Porter Gustin. All of these guys our our biggest playmakers on defense, and of course linebacker Cam Smith if he is good to go for Saturday. On offense: quarterback JT Daniels, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, running back Aca’Cedric Ware. Daniels has multiple weapons but it is clear St. Brown is his favorite as he leads the wide receiver corps with 25 receptions for 396 yards and two touchdowns.
How are the Coliseum renovations coming along?
Well....parking is even more of a nightmare than it was without the construction going on, so anyone who plans to go to the game, may the odds be ever in your favor. I mean the updated press box is nice and I’m told the new seats come in clutch with cupholders, which is exciting. No more having to put your drink underneath your chair waiting for it to get knocked over.
What is your prediction for the game?
To be honest I was surprised when it was announced that USC is favored by seven, but Clay Helton having never lost at home and Colorado being 0-12 all time against the Trojans in a way explains it. Though I don’t think people are giving Colorado enough credit, 5-0 with Montez and Shenault putting up impressive numbers so far. I think it will be a close game, USC will probably get going on their first drive, then falter, then get going again as has been the trend, but I think Colorado puts up points against our wishy-washy defense, I’m going with USC in this one but the score may be something like 38-35.