On Saturday, Colorado running back Travon McMillian will get his first opportunity to play against Southern California.

While it will be his first game against the Trojans, the senior grad transfer from Virginia Tech is no stranger to this type of game.

During his three years at Tech, McMillian went up against the Miami Hurricanes every year. He smiled when asked if USC is similar to Miami.

"Yeah," he said. "Those guys talk a lot of trash. They're really big, they're really physical. It's kind of similar to playing USC.

"Everybody on the East coast kind of looks up to Miami and the West coast guys look up to SC. I think it'll be a challenge for us. I'm excited to be able to play against these guys."

Tech was just 1-2 against Miami while McMillian was there, but he played well in those games. In three meetings, he rushed for 282 yards on 49 carries and also caught a touchdown pass.

"You can't be intimidated," he said of going against the Trojans. "You just have to be ready and be focused."

McMillian has no doubt the Buffs will be ready.

"Our team has the mindset that it doesn't matter who the opponent is," he said. "If we prepare the way we're supposed to prepare and do the right things, we should be ready to go."

Shenault on ESPN

ESPN's College GameDay was in Boulder this week to do a feature on Buffs receiver Laviska Shenault, who has been one of the biggest breakout stars in college football this year.


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Quick rebound

Last week against Arizona State, the Buffs were in danger of very quickly giving up the 28-21 lead they obtained late in the third quarter, but the tight bond of the Buffs - and the improved play of the defense overall - showed up in a crucial moment.

On the next play from scrimmage, ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins connected with Frank Darby for a 72-yard pass. CU safety Nick Fisher was beaten by Darby on the play, but recovered and brought him down at the 3-yard line.

"Right after that play, (safety) Evan Worthington comes up to me and he said, 'We've got this; don't worry,'" Fisher said. "That's what is different (this year). Sometimes (last year) we might have been holding our heads down, but now it's words of encouragement: 'Let's go stop them now.'"

ASU running back Eno Benjamin was brought down for a 1-yard gain on the next play, which ended the third quarter. After the quarter break, the defense held up and stopped the Sun Devils on three straight plays and the Buffs preserved their lead.

"(During the break) I got to get myself together because we had such a long period of time before the quarter started," Fisher said. "When it did start, I was ready go. It took away from the momentum. We stopped them.

"Yes, I did give up that big pass, but no points were given up. I think that's a win."

Notables

  • Buffs QB Steven Montez has a chance today to move into the top five in CU history for passing yards and total offense. Montez currently ranks sixth, behind Tyler Hansen (2008-11) in both categories. Montez needs 294 passing yards and 78 total yards to leap over Hansen.
  • Receivers Jay MacIntyre and Shenault are both nearing 1,000 receiving yards for their career. MacIntyre needs 16 yards to get there and Shenault needs 124. Currently, only 28 Buffs have ever reached 1,000 receiving yards.
  • With 328 career tackles, Rick Gamboa ranks 13th in CU history. He needs 11 to vault all the way up to ninth.
  • USC is one of the most penalized teams in the country. The Trojans average 9.2 penalties (123rd nationally) and 85.2 penalty yards (121st) per game.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.