Colorado seeks landmark Pac-12 South win at USC
Josh Falo will look across the line of scrimmage at some point tonight, and the USC tight end will be lined up against his brother, Colorado linebacker Nu’umotu Falo.
Yet this friendly sibling rivalry won’t be the most important thing on either brother’s mind when the 19th-ranked Buffaloes (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) go for a historic victory over the defending conference champion Trojans (3-2, 2-1).
“I feel like it’s our biggest game of the season,” Josh Falo said. “I feel like it’s going to be for first place in the Pac-12 South, and I feel like whoever wins it is going to win the Pac-12. Doesn’t get much bigger than that.”
Both teams realize the stakes when they meet at the Coliseum, where the Trojans still haven’t lost in 18 games under head coach Clay Helton.
Colorado is off to its best start in two decades, but the Buffaloes realize they have to beat the biggest program in the division to truly cement themselves as the favorite for their second Pac-12 South title in three years. The Buffs might be the only unbeaten team between South Bend, Indiana, and the Pacific Ocean, but the extent of their growth into a championship-contending program will be measured under the lights in downtown LA.
“We’ve never beaten them. Just that right there is a little bit of motivation,” Colorado quarterback Steven Montez said. “We go into this game like we’ve gone into these past five games . ... Every year is a new year, and so anybody can be beaten at any time. That’s how we looked at every single game we’ve played so far. We know we can be beaten as well.”
Both teams are packing a wealth of offensive talent into this showdown.
Montez has one of the most intriguing partnerships in college football with big receiver Laviska Shenault, who leads the nation in receptions (51) and yards receiving (708) after a monster game against Arizona last week.
The Buffaloes have lost all 12 of the school’s previous meetings with USC, but the Trojans have never faced an unbeaten Colorado team outside two season openers in the 1960s.
Daniels used the Trojans’ week off to think about improving his pocket presence and his precision on deep balls. The 18-year-old who graduated a full year early from high school has passed for 1,257 yards with only four touchdowns and three interceptions. Daniels has just one 300-yard performance after Sam Darnold put up eight last year. He is firmly entrenched as USC’s starter, but hasn’t yet dazzled for an entire game. Offensive coordinator Tee Martin hinted the Trojans have a few new offensive wrinkles coming out of their open date.
Other key games this weekend:
NO. 2 GEORGIA (6-0, 4-0 SEC)
AT NO. 13 LSU (5-1, 2-1 SEC) >> Georgia is hoping to push its record to 7-0 for the second consecutive season while also improving its overall record to 12-2 against SEC teams since 2016. These programs have met 30 times previously, including three times in the SEC Championship Game (2003, 2005 and 2011). Georgia enters the game boasting the SEC’s top defense, but somehow the Bulldogs are last in sacks (6.0). LSU, which lost to Florida last week, has won nine consecutive games following a loss dating back to 2015. NO. 7 WASHINGTON (5-1, 3-0
PAC-12) AT NO. 17 OREGON (41, 1-1 PAC-12) >> Washington looks to remain undefeated in Pac-12 play while both teams continue their pursuit of College Football Playoff semifinal bids. The Huskies have won 19 of their past 22 conference games, going 2-0 against Oregon and outscoring the Ducks 108-24 during that stretch. Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is averaging a Pac-12-best 8.98 yards per play this season. Washington linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven leads the league in tackles (74).
NO. 15 WISCONSIN (4-1, 2-0
BIG TEN) AT NO. 12 MICHIGAN (5-1, 3-0 BIG TEN) >> Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor leads the Big Ten in rushing yards (849) and rushing touchdowns (8) while averaging 6.74 yards per carry this season. He faces a huge challenge from a Michigan defense that hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher since Ohio State on Nov. 25, 2017. The Wolverines are 2-5 against teams ranked in the Top 25 during the past two seasons, including 1-4 against teams from the Big Ten. Michigan has won five consecutive games since a season-opening loss to Notre Dame.
HUNTLEY PASSES, RUNS UTAH OVER ARIZONA >> Tyler Huntley threw for two touchdowns, ran for another and caught a 58-yard TD pass, leading host Utah past Arizona 42-10. Utah (42, 2-2 Pac-12) led 35-0 less than two minutes into the second half.
Chase Hansen sacked Khalil Tate by the ankle late in the first quarter, and the Wildcats’ quarterback was visibly limping after that point. Jamarye Joiner replaced Tate for two series before giving way to Rhett Rodriguez, who threw for 226 yards and a 42-yard fourth-quarter touchdown to Cedric Peterson for Arizona (3-4, 2-2).
SOUTH FLORIDA STAYS UNBEATEN >> Coby Weiss made a 22-yard field goal with 2 seconds left, and No. 23 South Florida scored 17 points in the final 7:10 to beat host Tulsa 25-24.
Blake Barnett set up the winning field goal with a 32yard strike to Tyre McCants to the 5. Barnett scored on 1- and 12-yard runs to pull the Bulls (6-0, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) within two with 2:10 to go, but was stopped on a two-point conversion run.
USF forced Tulsa (1-5, 0-3) into a three-and-out, giving the Bulls the ball back with 1:03 remaining on their own 43 with no timeouts left.
Jordan Cronkrite rushed for 151 yards for the Bulls.
Quarterback Steven Montez leads unbeaten Colorado into the Coliseum today to face USC in a key Pac-12 game.