BOULDER, Colo. (AP) Sophomore Javorius Allen ran for a career-best 145 yards and three touchdowns and No. 23 Southern California beat Colorado 47-29 in 29-degree weather, tied for the second-coldest kickoff in the Trojans’ storied history.
The Trojans (9-3, 6-2 Pac-12) improved to 8-0 all-time against the Buffaloes (4-7, 1-7) while improving to 6-1 under interim coach Ed Orgeron.
The only downer for the Trojans was getting left out in thecold in the Pac-12 race as No. 19 Arizona State held off UCLA 38-33 earlier Saturday to clinch the South division.
The Buffaloes saw their slim bowl hopes come to an end in what might have been star receiver Paul Richardson‘s final home game. He didn’t catch a pass until midway through the third quarter, and by that time, the Buffs trailed by 30.
Bothered by a balky ankle, he didn’t go deep until very late and was smothered repeatedly by cornerback Josh Shawon short underneath routes, unable to get open for even short gains while this was still a game up for grabs.
Richardson broke free and finished with eight catches for 88 yards, including a 5-yard TD grab with 3:19 left that pulled Colorado to 40-29 after the 2-point conversion.
That also gave Richardson the school single-season receptions record of 79, besting D.J. Hackett’s 2003 mark of 78.
The Buffs couldn’t recover the onside kick, however, and fullback Soma Vainuku‘s 52-yard TD run two plays later sealed it.
Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler was 19 of 28 for 184 yards and two TDs.
Allen averaged 6.9 yards on his 21 carries.
The Trojans have played in a handful of 29-degree games. The only time they played in a colder game was on Nov. 30, 1957, when they lost 40-12 at Notre Dame in 20-degree weather, the last time they had to play in snow.
This time, the snow that blanketed the Front Range earlier in the week was plowed off to the side.
This game didn’t come down to temperatures anyway but talent, and USC dominated the Buffaloes on every front in building a 37-7 lead.
Allen’s two first-half TD runs were sandwiched around Vainuku’s block of Darragh O’Neill‘s punt that bounced out of the end zone for a safety. O’Neill came through the left side untouched.
So did Trojans defensive end Leonard Williams, who sacked and stripped Liufau at the Buffaloes 20-yard line in the second quarter.
Five plays later, Allen took it in from a yard out to make it 16-0.
Dion Bailey‘s interception of Liufau’s pass at midfield on Colorado’s next drive led to another USC score, this one when Kessler found Nelson Agholor from 20 yards for a touchdown that gave the Trojans a 23-0 halftime lead.
While the Buffaloes gave their fans little to cheer about, senior Colorado cheerleader Ozell Williams wowed the crowd with a dizzying 57 handsprings between the first and second quarters before pulling up at the 5-yard line to gather himself.
That’s by far the closest any Buffalo got to the end zone in the first half.
Things changed quickly when Allen was stripped on USC’s first play of the third quarter and safety Jered Bellscooped up the fumble and returned it 31 yards for the score to make it 23-7.
Allen’s 46-yard scamper set up Randall Telfer‘s 10-yard TD catch on the Trojans’ ensuing possession, then Allen took it in untouched from 23 yards to make it 37-7.