Caleb Williams threw for 268 yards and accounted for five total touchdowns as USC waltzed to a 55-17 win over Colorado on Friday night.
It didn’t come easy for the Trojans in the first quarter. The Buffs defense held them to just eight total yards on 10 plays including an interception by Nikko Reed. CU took a 3-2 lead by way of a 28-yard field goal from Cole Becker to end the first quarter. But couldn’t stop the onslaught of points by USC from that point on.
Williams constructed a 12-play, 72 yard drive and called his own number for a 2-yard rushing touchdown, putting USC up 9-3 early in the 2nd quarter. The first of three scores the Oklahoma transfer was responsible for prior to halftime.
Bad luck for J.T. Shrout who couldn’t get the ball moving in the right direction. A fumble by the Buffs QB set up Williams for a walk-in touchdown from four yards out, increasing USC’s lead to 16-3 midway through the 2nd quarter. The ensuing Buffs drive stalled out before Williams connected with former CU standout Brenden Rice for a 32-yard touchdown strike. The second score of the season for Rice, who was one of the seven offensive starters to arrive at Southern Cal via the transfer portal.
USC flipped a switch in the second quarter. A total of 209 yards and 6-of-9 on third down conversions prior to the half with 24 unanswered points to show for it. Williams had to rely on a rushing attack minus Travis Dye in the final half. The Oregon transfer went down with a serious leg injury in the 2nd quarter and didn’t return. A huge blow for the Trojans as Dye was nearing his second-straight 1,000-yard season.
“It shook us all a little bit,” USC coach Lincoln Riley said about Dye’s injury after the game. “He’s such an emotional leader. It sucks. No other way to put it,”
The Buffs got their first touchdown of the game with 5:49 to go in the 3rd quarter. A 9-play, 53-yard drive ended with a 3-yard TD run from Alex Fontenot, and stopped the bleeding to pull CU back within a two-score margin. However, USC went on to add another 21 unanswered points on three drives each over 60 yards.
Tahj Washington turned on the jets for a 61-yard catch and run from Williams. The longest reception for Washington’s tenure in a Trojans’ uniform after spending his first two years at Memphis. It was also the second scoring throw for the Trojans QB on the night. Williams exited the game after a 12-yard touchdown toss to Austin Jones, which put USC up 34-10 following a failed 2-point conversion in the final minute of the 3rd quarter.
Shrout scampered into the end zone from eight yards out on the Buffs next drive. The first career rushing TD for the Buffs QB who went 11-of-21 for 124 yards passing without a touchdown throw and one interception. Shrout also failed to complete at least 60 percent of his passes for the seventh time this season.
USC would add an additional two scores after Williams was pulled. A 25-yard TD reception for Raleek Brown from backup QB Miller Moss put the Trojans up 48-17. All before a 3-yard run from Darwin Barlow for the 55-17 final.
Colorado remains winless over USC in sixteen tries. One of the last opportunities for the Buffs to upset the Trojans, who will be migrating to the Big Ten in 2024. The 55 points put up by the Trojans is the second-most in series history. One point short of the 56-28 final from 2014 and also the sixth time USC has scored at least 40 points on the Buffs.
Colorado (1-9) sweeps up the pacific coast to face No. 25 Washington. The third-straight ranked opponent for the Buffs prior to a Rumble in the Rockies finale with No. 13 Utah. Not a smooth road ahead as USC’s only loss came to the Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium a month ago.
The Trojans (9-1) are on a path to meet No. 6 Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game. Not an easy task as they face No. 12 UCLA and No. 20 Notre Dame to close out the regular season. If USC can survive the next two games along with winning a conference title, they’ll be in prime position for a first-ever College Football Playoff bid.