From a USC perspective, the game shouldn't have gotten that close. From a Colorado perspective, you have to admire the team's mentality to make it a game again after last week's drubbing vs. Oregon.
And again, head coach Deion Sanders is doing his part to keep the Buffaloes in prime time with thrilling football, even if it came around much later today than they would've hoped.
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Colorado trailed 21-0 in the first half and eventually, 34-7. But a second-half rally, in which they outscored USC 14-0 in the fourth, saw that double-digit lead trim to just seven. However, the offense ran out of steam and the playcalling just wasn't there.
The 48-41 loss bumps Colorado to 3-2 and will keep them unranked while USC, despite the win, didn't look too convincing if it hoped to climb the ladder.
Let's dig into it with five standouts:
Caleb Williams, QB, USC
Whichever NFL team lands the No. 1 overall pick in 2024, they'll be hoping Williams is available. You'd expect him to thrive against a Colorado defense that has increasingly gotten suspect, but he went above and beyond by completing 30-for-40 passes, 403 yards, six touchdowns and a pick. Of course, you can't just account for statistics in college settings, but Williams has great poise and awareness in the pocket and his intangibles can take him a long way. Another solid performance.
Shedeur Sanders, QB, Colorado
It was far from a pretty for start for Sanders and the Colorado offense, especially with star receiver Travis Hunter still out. But he got hot late and ended the game with 371 passing yards on 30-for-45 completions, four touchdowns and one pick to go with 50 rushing yards on 14 attempts, which was carried by a 25-yard rushing touchdown. Sanders' stock is another that keeps rising each week.
Brenden Rice, WR, USC
Son of NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice and a former two-year player at Colorado himself, wideout Brenden Rice carried his momentum from last week with another impressive showing in this one. After breaking out last week vs. Arizona State for seven catches, 133 yards and two touchdowns, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound receiver went for five catches, 81 yards and two touchdowns against his former school. Rice statistically has never made waves, but maybe there's a late bloomer situation going on.
Omarion Miller, WR, Colorado
After no one stepped up last week vs. Oregon, someone on Colorado's offense desperately needed to today. That was freshman wideout Omarion Miller, who stole the spotlight with seven catches for 196 yards and a touchdown. Jimmy Horn Jr. helped with seven catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns, but it was Miller who broke out and made a serious case for more reps moving forward.
Mason Cobb, LB, USC
Cobb rarely touched the field in his first two seasons at Oklahoma State before erupting as a junior. He ranked second on the team in total tackles and proved he could be a force down the middle before transferring to USC for his senior year. But injuries bit him the first few weeks, and today he bounced back for his best game of the season, logging 13 total tackles (11 solo) and one pass defended. He can be a key player for the Trojans' defense as long as he can stay healthy, and today provided a glimpse.