When Colorado flew into Los Angeles to play USC, a win wasn’t really expected.
Nonetheless, Colorado — coming into Friday sitting at 1-8 and taking on the Pac-12 title-contending Trojans — was leading USC at the end of the first quarter, albeit by the less-than-pretty score of 3-2.
Could the Buffs come into the LA Coliseum and actually knock off the Trojans, playing spoiler and laying waste to their conference title hopes?
That did not happen.
By halftime, it was clear that USC had taken the momentum, and Colorado couldn’t regain it.
After a 55-17 loss in Los Angeles, here are five takeaways from the Buffs defeat at the hands of the Trojans.
Strong game for Alex Fontenot
There weren’t many positives on offense for Colorado on Friday, with one of the exceptions being Alex Fontenot.
Fontenot was efficient for the Buffs, going for 108 yards on 20 carries and getting Colorado’s only touchdown of the game. The 108 yards was good for a season-high for the senior.
More of the same through the air
Coming into the game, one of USC’s weaknesses was its defense, particularly its secondary.
Colorado’s passing game has been anemic between JT Shrout and Owen McCown.
Something had to give here, and it was USC’s defense that made Shrout uncomfortable all night.
Shrout went 11-for-21 for 124 yards in the loss, and his accuracy was lacking throughout. Things need to be better in that part of the game if Colorado is to keep up with Washington next week.
The Trojans got to Colorado's run defense
Colorado’s run defense has been a struggle this season and proved to be the backbreaker in their loss to Arizona State earlier this year.
USC didn’t have much of a problem figuring out Colorado’s run D, and their four-pronged attack — led by Austin Jones and Raleek Brown — proved to be a key in their win over the Buffs.
Most of the production was done without starting running back Travis Dye, who exited with a season-ending injury, and that again showed, as it did against Arizona State, just how much Colorado needs to improve in that area.
Jeremy Mack Jr. a bright spot defensively
The Buffs defense as a unit certainly didn’t do well on Friday.
Both in the run game and pass game, there were many things that Colorado has to improve in short order.
One of the bright spots on that side of the ball though was Jeremy Mack, who tallied a season-high in tackles with 11 against the Trojans, in what could prove to be a good momentum builder for the sophomore.
A loss, but a chance to move forward
There aren’t many positives from the Colorado point of view after getting thoroughly beaten by USC for three quarters.
This does provide an opportunity for Colorado to look at where things went wrong and potentially improve next week against Washington.
The Buffs are heading into their final two games of the season, a chance for a young team to try to garner some positive momentum as they close out the year.
The chances of a win against either Washington or Utah — even though the former has been inconsistent at times — are low, but the Buffs could be able to get some positives to build on heading into 2022, and possibly play spoiler along the way.