Colorado looks to end 13-game skid against Southern Cal
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — For the occasion, the Colorado Buffaloes are going with the all-black uniform look from head to toe .
It’s certainly fitting as they attempt to snap a bunch of black-cloud streaks Friday night — an 0-6 slump while wearing that particular all-dark attire, a current three-game slide and the biggie, of course, winning for the first time ever against Southern California.
The Trojans (4-3, 3-1 Pac-12) own a 13-0 all-time mark over the Buffaloes (3-4, 1-3), including eight straight since Colorado joined the Pac-12 in 2011. The one-side nature of the series hasn’t been a topic of discussion for Colorado players this week. It hasn’t even been mentioned.
“We do a nameless or faceless opponent kind of thing,” Colorado tight end Brady Russell said. “We barely even talk about who we’re going to play. Of course, we watch film on them and learn about them, but it doesn’t matter if it’s USC, (Colorado State), or whoever we’re playing. We’re just going out there and trying to get another win.”
The Trojans are on top of the Pac-12 South standings despite an injury-riddled backfield and a banged-up defense. Not that it seems to matter — they have an abundance of talent to step in. Take a win over Arizona last weekend for instance: Southern Cal relied on a backup to the backups in tailback Kenan Christon, who had 103 yards and two long TD scampers.
“We believe in our kids,” Trojans coach Clay Helton said. “We’ve got a huge opportunity that stands right there for us. We can write our own story right now, and we’re going to believe in the kids that are out here.”
The Buffaloes are hoping to recover some of their early season rhythm. They’ve been outscored 86-13 in losses at Oregon and Washington State.
Now, they face a Trojans team that’s always had their number.
“You have to have a belief and not just hope,” first-year Colorado coach Mel Tucker said. “Treat every play as if it has a history and a life of its own. You grind it out. ... That’s how you get it done.”
QB CONFIDENCE, PART I
In Tucker’s estimation, the confidence of Colorado senior quarterback Steven Montez hasn’t dipped despite throwing six interceptions and no TD passes over the last two weeks.
“You see these guys every single day, so if a guy is struggling with confidence you can tell, and I haven’t seen that from him,” Tucker said. “He’s fighting and scrapping.”
QB CONFIDENCE, PART II
In Helton’s opinion, the belief in freshman QB Kedon Slovis was only enhanced against Arizona when he went 19 of 28 for 232 yards and two scores.
“Good quarterbacks, when things aren’t always going right, they don’t force the ball,” Helton explained. “And I thought he did a great job of that, just not forcing things, but letting the game come to him. You look up and he’s (19 of 28 for 232 yards), two touchdowns and zero picks. For a lot of quarterbacks, that’s a hell of a day. When you’re the quarterback at USC, you’re like, ‘OK, what do you got to do better?’”
The Trojans may be on their fifth-string or so running back, but the playbook hasn’t changed much.
“That’s the beauty of this offense, I think, is we’re going to do what we do for the most part,” offensive coordinator Graham Harrell said. “We’re going to do tweaks, and we’re going to put a tag on what we feel like puts us in a position to be successful against whatever a defense does.”
It’s looking like upper 40s and no precipitation at kickoff. This stat always bears repeating when the Trojans play in Boulder in late fall simply because the coldest game in USC history was 20 degrees in a 40-12 loss at Notre Dame in 1957. USC also has played in 29-degree weather on four occasions — 1949, ’52 and ‘59 in South Bend along with ’13 at Colorado.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
The Trojans are playing two regular season games on a Friday for the first time since 1977. ... Colorado has an all-time mark of 19-26 in games played on Friday. ... USC cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart turns 20 on Friday. ... Colorado plays three regular season games on a Friday for the second year in a row.
AP freelance writer Dan Greenspan contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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