By Johnny Curren
It wasn’t particularly pretty, but the Trojans did do just enough to come away with a victory for the second consecutive week inside the Coliseum on Saturday, defeating No. 21 Colorado by a final score of 21-17.
Buoyed by a strong showing by the defense early on, USC appeared to be in firm control of the game at times, but with the Trojans offense committing a total of four turnovers, Colorado was able to fight back and stay in the contest until the very end.
Down 14-0 at halftime, the Buffaloes reeled off 14-straight points of their own, with wide receiver Bryce Bobo hitting Phillip Lindsey for a 67-yard touchdown, and Colorado quarterback Steven Montez connecting with Bobo for a 10-yard touchdown.
USC would answer, however, with Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold capping a six-play, 70 yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Petite with 8:28 left in the contest.
Colorado responded by driving down the field, but the Trojans defense stepped up when it counted most, forcing the Buffaloes to settle for a 42-yard field goal, and with USC able to run out the final 4:49, that’s how the game would end.
Three of USC’s turnovers were committed by Darnold, the first of which came on the Trojans’ opening offensive series when, on the verge of rushing for a touchdown, he fumbled the ball at the goal line, with Colorado making the recovery in the end zone.
Darnold and the Trojans offense would regroup, however, putting together a nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive on USC’s next possession, with the redshirt-freshman passer connecting with Daniel Imatorbhebhe for a 33-yard touchdown.
Darnold also connected with Petite for an 11-yard touchdown pass just before halftime.
Darnold finished 25-of-27 passing for 358 yards and three touchdowns – all to USC tight ends – with one interception.
USC wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster also had a big day, catching five passes for 113 yards.
Defensively, outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu led the Trojans with 10 tackles. Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson also had a strong outing, compiling six stops as well as a highlight-reel leaping interception along the sideline where he was just able to get one foot in-bounds.
USC improves to 3-3, and will next play at Arizona.