USC vs. Colorado: Live Game Grades and Analysis for the Trojans

Brian Pedersen@realBJPFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20:  Wide receiver Marqise Lee #9 of the USC Trojans carries the ball while being pursued by defensive back Greg Henderson #20 of the Colorado Buffaloes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

USC 47, Colorado 29—FINAL

USC (9-3, 6-2 Pac-12) cruised to its fifth straight win, taking a 23-0 lead en route to the victory at Colorado (4-6, 1-6).

Final stats can be found at

Nov 23, 2013; Boulder, CO, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler (6) prepares to pass in the first quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Final game analysis for the USC Trojans:

Pass Offense: Cody Kessler had 169 of his 198 passing yards in the first half, mixing in short throws with nice touch on intermediate routes via play-action. Both Nelson Agholor and Randall Telfer had TD catches as eight players had receptions.

Run Offense: Javorius Allen had another superb game, rushing for 143 yards and three TDs, shaking off a strip that was returned for a Colorado TD. The Trojans gained 243 yards on 40 carries.

Pass Defense: The gameplan to blanket deep threat Paul Richardson paid off, keeping him from making big plays until too late. Sefu Liufau was sacked three times, lost a fumble and was picked off.

Run Defense: Colorado ran for 124 yards, but none of them came at key rimes. Only one Buffaloes first down came on the ground thanks to USC's line getting off blocks.

Special Teams: Soma Vainuku's blocked punt for a safety continued the Trojans' superb effort in this area, but sloppy hands on a late onside kick were nearly costly.

Coaching: USC didn't need to use any trickery, other than play-action and some screens, mostly going straightforward with its play calls. On defense, the plan was about pressure.

USC Trojans Live Game Grades
Position unitFirst-half gradeFinal grade
Pass OffenseAA-
Run OffenseBA-
Pass DefenseA-B+
Run DefenseB+B
Special TeamsAA-
Week 13 at Colorado

First half analysis for the USC Trojans:

Pass Offense: Cody Kessler continues to improve down the stretch, even if he doesn't look flashy. He was 17-of-23 for 169, completing a sweet 20-yard touch pass to Nelson Agholor for TD late in the half. Xavier Grimble also stepping up with six catches.

Run Offense: Javorius Allen has two TD runs, shaking off a shoulder injury suffered on the first score to finish with 33 yards on 12 carries. The run game hasn't been spectacular, but has done well enough.

Pass Defense: By doubling Paul Richardson, USC has forced Colorado to go elsewhere, with no success. Sefo Liufau has struggled, losing a fumble on a strip sack by Leonard Williams and getting picked by Dion Bailey, both leading to TDs.

Run Defense: Colorado's few attempts to run the ball haven't gone far thanks to USC's ability to get off tackles and plug up holes with its front seven. No rush has gone for more than six yards.

Special Teams: Soma Vainuku showed off his blocking ability once again, smacking a Colorado punt into the end zone for a safety.

Coaching: Clay Helton continues to use the play-action to keep USC's offense wide open. Defensively, blitzes and stunts are leading to pressure.