USC defeats No. 21 Colorado despite four turnovers
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Quarterback Sam Darnold threw for 358 yards and three touchdowns, and USC (3–3, 2–2) held on to beat No. 21 Colorado 21–17.
Tight end Tyler Petite caught two touchdowns. His first was on a wild sequence where Darnold scrambled from the pocket after fumbling and found Petite wide open at the 12-yard line and the tight end made his way for the score with 3:40 left in the 1st half.
Despite his numbers threw the air, Darnold fumbled twice taking off on the ground and one of those times was as he was approaching the goal line to score for a potential touchdown in the first quarter. A total of four USC turnovers kept Colorado in the game.
“Great defense, unbelievable. I can’t say enough about our defense holding a great offense to what we did,” USC coach Clay Helton told the Pac-12 Network's Lewis Johnson after the game. “We tried to give that game away offensively.”
Even with the turnovers, the USC defense stepped up and shut down a Colorado offense that had been averaging 43 points per game and held them to 17 overall and scoreless at halftime.
“They played really well on defense against us and we kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” Colorado coach Mike Macintyre told reporters after the game. “We didn’t play our typical Colorado football. We didn’t play fast and tough all the time.”
The Buffs (4–2, 2–1) could not take advantage of the USC turnovers and struggled to put consistent drives together. They only converted six of 17 third downs.
Bryce Bobo threw a 67-yard touchdown to running back Phillip Lindsay on a trick play to cap off a one-play drive on Colorado’s second possession of the third quarter. Bobo also caught the Buffs’ other touchdown as Steven Montez found him on a 10-yard pass to tie the game with 10:20 remaining.
USC answered on the next possession, going 70 yards in six plays to take the lead. Darnold found Petite for a seven-yard score to give the tight end his second touchdown of the day.
Colorado scored a field goal to make the score 21–17, but the defense ran out of gas and could not stop the Trojans from gaining three first downs to eventually run out the clock.
USC forced one turnover, and it came on a spectacular interception by Adoree’ Jackson in the third quarter. Montez was under direst and attempted to throw the ball away out of bounds but Jackson was able to secure it near the sideline and get one foot in bounds.
USC lost running back Justin Davis in the third quarter after he had to be carted off the field with a high ankle sprain.
After falling to 0–11 all-time vs USC, Colorado will most likely lose its ranking and fall out of the AP Top 25 after just one week. They play host next week to Arizona State in another important match-up in the Pac-12 South.
USC will travel to Arizona to play the Wildcats who are 0–3 in the Pac-12.