Colorado vs. USC preview

Colorado takes on USC in first-ever Friday night home game.

A look at today's game ...

NO. 21 SOUTHERN CAL (6-3, 3-2) at Colorado (1-8, 0-5)

When/Where: Today, 7 p.m. MDT, at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colo.

The series: Colorado is 0-5 all-time against the Trojans, including a 40-3 loss in Boulder on Sept. 14, 2002 – the most recent meeting.

Last week: Colorado lost its sixth straight game, 48-14 at Arizona State. USC lost 56-48 to Stanford in triple overtime.

Last year: Colorado was 5-7. USC was 8-5.

Friday night lights: Tonight's game will the first-ever Friday night football game at Folsom Field for the Buffaloes. CU does have a 23-10-2 all-time record in home night games, however.

Airing it out?: Both teams have been vulnerable to pass this year. Colorado ranks 92nd nationally in pass defense (allowing 248.9 yards per game), while USC ranks 102nd (273.3).

Trojan to keep an eye on: RB Curtis McNeal. He gets the start with senior Marc Tyler out with a shoulder injury. McNeal's fumble on the last play of the game last week ended USC's bid to upset Stanford. He's likely to be hungry to make up for that with a big game this week. He had a career-high 146 yards against Stanford.

Buff to keep an eye on:WR Paul Richardson. If he's back from injury, he could itching to have a big game. And quarterback Tyler Hansen could be antsy to get his big-play threat back. In five games, Richardson has 29 catches for 474 yards and five touchdowns. Against a banged-up USC secondary, there's potential for a big game.

Did you know?: In five games against USC, Colorado has scored a total of just 24 points. USC has 138 points in those games. A 17-14 CU loss in 2000 was the only time the Buffs have scored more than seven points against the Trojans.

This and that: CU has lost seven straight against ranked opponents. … USC is the third straight ranked opponent for CU; the last time it played three ranked opponents in a row was in 2006. … Former top-rated defensive end recruit Nick Kasa is now playing tight end for the Buffs. He's wearing No. 90, rather than his usual 44. … Colorado is likely to be without strong safety Anthony Perkins (ankle). … Receiver Paul Richardson and running back Rodney Stewart are hoping to return to the lineup after battling injuries. … USC safety T.J. McDonald was suspended for the first half of tonight's game for a hit he put on Stanford receiver Chris Owusu. Junior Drew McAllister will start in his place. The Trojans may also be without starting safety Jawanza Starling and linebacker Dion Bailey (concussion), who leads the team in tackles. … CU had 61 yards in total offense the last time these two teams met – the sixth-lowest total in team history.

How the Trojans can win: Attack the banged up Buffaloes defense and pile on quickly. If CU falls behind by a couple of scores early, the Buffs might collapse mentally. USC has the ability to get up early and then bury the Buffs.

How the Buffs can win: Colorado has always shown an ability to play inspired football at home against quality opponents – even in recent lean years. If the Buffs can find the emotional formula that led them against Georgia last year, or against Oklahoma and West Virginia in recent years, they can win this game. They've got to play mistake-free football, however, and keep the Trojans from running away.

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