LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cool off USC? The Trojans are actually looking forward to the chilly conditions.
The Trojans (6-3, 4-2 Pac-12) bring a three-game winning streak to Colorado (4-6, 1-5) on Friday night, where the temperature at kickoff is expected to hover a few degrees above freezing.
“I looked at the weather report. It should be a fun time,” said USC linebacker Cameron Smith, whose team is playing just their fifth Friday game since 1990. “I’m excited for it.”
Bundle up, though, because this will be far from SoCal weather, even for a SoCal transplant who’s had years to get accustomed to Boulder.
“It’s a fact that no one from California likes the cold,” said Colorado senior defensive back Jered bell, who’s from Ontario, California. “If it’s under 60 degrees, we’ve got hoodies and sweaters on.
“No matter what the weather is we still have to go out there and play. The weather is not going to dictate the game.”
And it’s not like USC doesn’t play well in the cold. The Trojans are 11-8-1 in cold conditions, which the school defines as anything that significantly impacts a contest.
The coldest game USC has played in was 20 degrees at Notre Dame in 1957. Not far behind was the contest at Folsom Field in 2013, when the temperature was 29 degrees. The Trojans kept warm that day by rolling to a 47-29 win in which they had 449 total yards.
Colorado is 0-9 all-time against the Trojans. What’s more, the team has been outscored 195-80 by USC since joining the conference in 2011.
Then there’s quarterback Cody Kessler, who threw seven TD passes against Colorado last season.
“It’s important for us to get pressure on him and knock him off his rhythm,” Buffs coach Mike MacIntyre said. “If not, it will be a long day like it was in previous years.”
These two teams heading in different directions. Interim head coach Clay Helton has gone 3-1 since taking over for Steve Sarkisian. Colorado has dropped two straight and needs to win out to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2007.
“There is a sense of urgency for us to make sure we get some more wins, there’s no doubt,” MacIntyre said.
Here are things to know as Colorado plays its final home game of the season against USC:
RAISE YOUR HAND: Don’t expect Adoree Jackson to call for a fair catch when he’s returning punts. That’s just not in his style. By his estimation, he hasn’t raised his hand for a fair catch since his junior year of high school. “I feel like I can make a play regardless of where we’re at,” Jackson said.
STOPPING COLORADO: Helton has an extremely simple approach for keeping Colorado’s offense on the bench — dominate time of possession. Oh, and convert third downs, too. “If you can keep the ball away from a very powerful offense like Colorado, it will help you,” Helton said. “Offensively, that’s our responsibility to our defense.”
NOT SUPERSTITIOUS: Like Colorado, USC has never played on Friday the 13th. The Trojans haven’t really played much on Fridays, either, going 4-0 since ’90. The Buffs are 11-19 on this day of the week.
FAMILIAR VOICE: Longtime broadcaster Larry Zimmer will call his final contest at Folsom Field on his 80th birthday. In his 42 seasons in the booth for Colorado, he’s described everything from the fifth down play at Missouri during their 1990 national championship season to the Hail Mary catch by Michael Westbrook at Michigan in 1994. Colorado would love to send Zimmer out on a high note. He had a health scare a year ago and missed the final six games. “I’m really glad he’s here, because this time last year, we weren’t sure he was going to be here,” MacIntyre said.
SENIOR REFLECTIONS: Asked about his best memory at Colorado, Bell responded: “Anytime we win is always a good memory. Anytime we can get a win is always a great feeling.”