2021 Game 5: USC Football at Colorado
USC Trojans (2-2, 1-2) at Colorado Buffaloes (1-3, 0-1)
Folsom Field in Boulder, CO, at Noon MT/11am PT on Pac-12 Network
Buffalo to Watch: Sophomore RB Jarek Broussard
In a shortened Covid season, Colorado was successful in 2020, sparked by new head coach Karl Dorrell and Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year Jarek Broussard. The Buffaloes strength is on the ground, so they'll look to ride Broussard (and his backfield mate Alex Fontenot) early and often against the Trojans.
No Easy Fix
USC's problem is clear. The Trojans need to stop the run. The solution is murky though. USC has a talented defensive line, but not a big one, having lost most of its 325-pound bodies to injury. Without natural space cloggers, DC Todd Orlando will have to scheme up run-stuffing blitzes to get his athletic front seven in the defensive backfield and off their heels which is where they were forced to play last game against Oregon State's top-ranked offense.
Free and Easy
With Kedon Slovis at the helm, everything has appeared difficult for the USC offense this season. The quarterback is looking at a cloudy picture with pressure surrounding the pocket and tight throwing windows on the outside. However, both OC Graham Harrell and Slovis were encouraged by the first half display last week and the quarterback thinks the offensive rhythm will improve "if we go play loose and play fast."
The Trojans desperately need a win, having put themselves in a two-game hole already in the Pac-12 South. Given USC's defensive deficiencies last week, Colorado is the right opponent on paper. The Buffaloes rank 128th in the nation in total offense out of 130 teams. Of course, the Trojans cannot afford to take any opponent lightly, but if they protect the ball and force the Buffaloes to drive long fields, USC's considerable firepower should ultimately win the day.