- Associated Press - Thursday, October 6, 2016

No. 21 Colorado (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) at USC (2-3, 1-2), 4 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

Line: USC by 4½.

Series Record: USC leads 10-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Colorado’s first game as a ranked team since Nov. 6, 2005, is an opportunity to prove its resurgence is for real. The Buffaloes have never won three Pac-12 games in a season and have never beaten USC, one of the nation’s most glamorous programs. The Trojans are hoping to bounce back from their 1-3 start to the season with back-to-back victories over ranked teams.

KEY MATCHUP

Colorado RB Phillip Lindsay vs. USC LB Cameron Smith. Lindsay is the busiest ball-carrier in the Buffs’ much-improve rushing offense, while Smith is the leading tackler on a defense that held Arizona State to 105 yards rushing last week, dominating the line of scrimmage.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Colorado: DT Jordan Carrell. The JUCO transfer is quietly having a huge senior season on perhaps the Buffs’ best defensive line in a decade, making 21 tackles with 2 1/2 sacks and a host of quarterback pressures.

USC: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Trojans’ top pass-catcher broke out with new quarterback Sam Darnold for 123 yards receiving and three touchdowns last week.

FACTS & FIGURES

Colorado is keeping quiet about whether hobbling QB Sefo Liufau or freshman backup Steven Montez will start. … USC has outscored Colorado 360-128 in the schools’ first 10 meetings. … Last year in Boulder, the Trojans rallied in the second half for a 27-24 win after Liufau got hurt, but Colorado led for more than half of the game. … Colorado is the only unbeaten team in conference play in the Pac-12 South. Buffs haven’t led a conference division by themselves since Oct. 6, 2007, in the Big 12 North. … Colorado hasn’t started a season 5-1 since 2007. It has lost nine straight games in California since 2002. … This was supposed to be one of the easier games on the schedule for the Trojans, whose schedule is among the nation’s toughest this season. … Darnold passed for 352 yards last week against Arizona State in the freshman’s first home start.

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AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org

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