No. 19 Colorado (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) at Southern California (3-2, 2-1), 8:40 p.m. MT (ESPN)
Line: USC by 7.
Series record: USC leads 12-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?The winner gets the inside track on the Pac-12 South title. The Buffaloes won’t have many better opportunities to beat the Trojans for the first time in a series dating to 1927, while USC is eager to assert itself in the division while remaining unbeaten at the Coliseum under coach Clay Helton.
KEY MATCHUPColorado WR Laviska Shenault vs. USC CB Iman Marshall. The Buffaloes’ sophomore pass-catcher leads the nation with 51 receptions for 708 yards, and he has six touchdown catches in five games after a monster performance against Arizona State last week. Marshall is the experienced veteran in the Trojans’ injury-depleted secondary, and he’ll have to lead some strong work to slow QB Steven Montez’s connection with Shenault.
PLAYERS TO WATCHColorado: DL Mustafa Johnson. The right defensive end leads the Buffs with 4 ½ sacks and six other tackles for loss. Getting pressure on freshman QB J.T. Daniels will be a key to disrupting a USC passing game showing signs of proficiency.
USC: RB Aca’Cedric Ware. After three years spent largely behind Ronald Jones II at Tailback U., the senior has broken out with two 100-yard games, including 173 yards and two TDs last time out at Arizona.
FACTS & FIGURESUSC has won 18 consecutive games at the Coliseum, including 13 consecutive against Pac-12 foes. ... Colorado is off to its best start since 1998. The Buffs haven’t been 6-0 since 1994. ... Montez is second nationally after completing 75.2 percent of his passes. ... USC TE Josh Falo could face off against his brother, Colorado LB Nu’umotu Falo. Their parents will be in attendance. ... USC has cumulatively outscored Colorado 419-169 in this series. ... The Trojans are coming off their open date. ... USC has never faced Colorado when the Buffaloes were unbeaten, except in the 1963 and 1964 season openers. ... Recruiting 101: The Buffaloes have 40 players from California, while the Trojans have nobody from Colorado.