BOULDER, Colo. – When you’re busy doing a little bit of everything, it’s easy to see how you might not worry about what’s happening on the other sideline.
USC’s Adoree Jackson was his usual self during Saturday’s come-from-behind, 27-24 win at Colorado. The sophomore cornerback from Belleville, Illinois, finished the night with 84 all-purpose yards, including 70 on kickoff returns. He caught a pass, broke up another, and returned a punt. He also scooped up a blocked field goal and returned it 16 yards to set up the Trojans for their final touchdown.
What he did not do was pay too much attention to who played quarterback. In fact, when asked about the change to backup Cade Apsay that Colorado made after starter Sefo Liufau broke his foot, Jackson looked a little surprised.
“I didn’t even know why the quarterback was going out, I didn’t know what was going on.” Jackson said. “Did he get hurt?
“I just thought they were putting a new quarterback in and we just had to go out there and play, regardless. No matter who the quarterback is, they still have the same personnel, offensively. We just had to do what we had to do.”
A big portion of that personnel was Jackson’s responsibility. As Jackson frequently does, he spent part of the night lined up one-on-one against the other team’s best receiver. This time it was Colorado’s Nelson Spruce, the all-time leading receiver at a program that has produced the likes of Cliff Branch and Michael Westbrook.
Spruce finished with seven catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. He also returned a fourth-quarter punt to USC’s 5-yard line to set up Colorado’s final score. After the game, USC quarterback Cody Kessler called Spruce, “a stud,” and interim head coach said Spruce is a “terrific player,” for whom USC has “the utmost respect.”
Here’s what Jackson said about the matchup.
“We were just out there battling,” Jackson said. “That’s what happens when you’re battling out there. He might win some, I might win some. It was just a great matchup. That’s what I like. Going against him, he was giving me his best, I was giving him my best. At the end of the day, he made some plays and I made some plays as well.”
When Jackson entered the game, he was the nation’s only player with at least 300 receiving yards, 400 kickoff return yards, 100 punt return yards and 10 tackles. His all-around work against Colorado did little to his hurt his reputation.
But as usual, Jackson has bigger things to worry about.
“We just fight, that’s what our motto is,” Jackson said about the comeback. “That’s what we keep doing. We never keep our heads in the dumps. We know that. One play doesn’t define us. You have to go out there and play 60 minutes. We were going to have to come out there and stop their offense.”
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Patrick Ridgell is a special contributor to USCFootball.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @PatrickRidgell.