When Colorado flew to Los Angeles to play USC, a win wasn’t really expected.
Nonetheless, Colorado — sitting 1-8 on Friday and taking on Pac-12 title contenders Trojans — led USC at the end of the first quarter, albeit by a less-than-pleasant result of 3-2.
Could the Buffs get into the LA Coliseum and actually take out the Trojans, play spoilers and crush their conference title hopes?
That didn’t happen.
By halftime it was clear that USC had taken the momentum and Colorado couldn’t win it back.
After a 55-17 loss in Los Angeles, here are five takeaways from the Buffs’ loss to the Trojans.
Strong game for Alex Fontenot
There weren’t many positives for Colorado on offense Friday, with one of the exceptions being Alex Fontenot.
Fontenot was efficient for the Buffs, going for 108 yards on 20 carries and scoring Colorado’s only touchdown of the game. The 108 yards was good for a season high for the senior.
More of that through the air
Coming into play, one of USC’s weaknesses was his defense, particularly his secondary.
Colorado’s passing game was anemic between JT Shrout and Owen McCown.
Something had to give way here, and it was USC’s defense that kept Shrout uncomfortable all night.
Shrout went 11-to-21 for 124 yards and his accuracy was consistently lacking. This part of the game needs to get better if Colorado is to keep up with Washington next week.
The Trojans hit Colorado’s run defense
Colorado’s run defense has been a struggle this season and proved a setback in the loss to Arizona State earlier this year.
USC didn’t have much of a problem figuring out Colorado’s Run D, and their four-pronged attack — led by Austin Jones and Raleek Brown — proved key to their victory over the Buffs.
Most of the production was done without running back Travis Dye, who retired with a season-ending injury, and again, as it was against Arizona State, it showed just how much Colorado needs to improve in that area.
Jeremy Mack Jr. defensively a bright spot
Defending the buffs as a unit certainly didn’t fare well on Friday.
In both the running game and the passing game, there were many things Colorado needs to improve on in a short period of time.
One of the bright spots on this side of the ball, however, was Jeremy Mack, who posted a season-high with 11 tackles against the Trojans, which could prove to be a good catalyst for the second year.
A loss but a chance to move forward
There aren’t many positives from Colorado’s perspective after being thoroughly beaten by USC for three quarters.
This gives Colorado a chance to examine where things went wrong and potentially improve against Washington next week.
The Buffs are in for the last two games of the season, a chance for a young team to gather positive momentum at the end of the year.
The odds of a win against Washington or Utah — even if the former has been fickle at times — are slim, but the Buffs could be able to pull off some positive results to build on into 2022, and possibly Game spoilers along the way.
Story originally appeared on Buffaloes Wire