Following a Thursday night road game at Utah and a trip to the Northwest to take on Washington, No. 10 USC finally returns to the Coliseum on Saturday for a 3 p.m. matchup against Colorado. The Trojans will play three of their next four games at home, a welcome change from their hectic start to the season.
“We’re trying to get into a routine of having normal Saturday games for the next six weeks,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “It feels good to just kind of be on a normal schedule … hopefully we can get a rhythm going.”
The Buffaloes have the worst overall record in the Pac-12 at 1-5, but the Trojans are aware of the need to take their opponent seriously. After a mediocre start to Wednesday’s practice, Kiffin explained how the Trojans could dig themselves into an early hole despite being heavily favored.
“We came out here and didn’t start very well on offense,” Kiffin said. “You start turning the ball over, getting penalties, you let them right into the game. So that’s our focus not to do that.”
The Trojans enter their contest against Colorado with a new emphasis on the ground game. USC accumulated 204 rushing yards against the Huskies and hopes to keep that success going this weekend.
“It was really critical for us to show that we can run the ball for our opponents that we play,” Kiffin said. “To get people at some point to stop spending so much time on [Marqise Lee] and [Robert Woods]. And I think also for your team, it’s a mentality. We don’t ever want to be a team that just throws the ball around, because I think that affects your whole team.”
Colorado has the 84th-ranked ranked run defense in college football, letting up an average of 181.5 yards per game. If USC is able to maintain a balanced attack against the Buffaloes, Kiffin believes his own defense will take care of the rest.
“Most of those teams, if you look around the country, that throw the ball a ton usually don’t have very good defenses,” Kiffin said. “So I think it’s just a product of your team and what you want. We want a physical defense that in practice we can run the ball at and make them really have to hold up. I think that carries over to your entire team.”