Today, 12:30 p.m. PDT
TV--Channel 7. Radio--KMPC (1540)
WHEN USC HAS THE BALL
Running back Malaefou MacKenzie caught six passes for a career-best 117 yards in the Trojans' season-opening victory over Auburn and probably will be a main target again in the Trojans' spread passing game. Quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Kareem Kelly burned Colorado two years ago in a 17-14 win at the Coliseum and would like to repeat the feat. Sultan McCullough also will play tailback, and Chad Pierson will start at fullback. Colorado likes to jam the line of scrimmage with eight defenders and blitzes often. The Buffaloes used six defensive backs last week against San Diego State and gave up 359 passing yards.
WHEN COLORADO HAS THE BALL
Robert Hodge, who played at Manhattan Beach Mira Costa High and El Camino College, will step in at quarterback for injured Craig Ochs. Hodge is an average passer but a tough runner who led the Buffaloes to two-second-half touchdowns against San Diego State last week. Tailback Chris Brown rushed for 185 yards. USC's defensive line played well against Auburn, and all the starters are healthy. Weakside linebacker Melvin Simmons is scheduled to play after being hospitalized two days this week because of an infection in his left leg and flu. Cornerback Ronald Nunn suffered a broken right thumb during practice, but he will start.
KEYS TO USC VICTORY
1. Weather the conditions. Folsom Field is 5,345 feet above sea level, but Coach Pete Carroll, who took NFL teams into Denver, downplays the effects of thin air on visitors. Rain also could be a factor for a team that relies on the pass.
2. Establish a running game. The Trojans were fortunate to beat Auburn with only 84 net rushing yards.
3. Reduce penalties. The Trojans were flagged eight times for 92 yards in their first game.
HOW THEY COMPARE
*--* USC Colo 24.0 Scoring 24.0 17.0 Points Allowed 16.5 302.0 Passing Offense 167.5 84.0 Rushing Offense 217.5 386.0 Total Offense 385.0 141.0 Passing Defense 263.5 140.0 Rushing Defense 97.0 281.0 Total Defense 360.5