There are times when Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre watches film of Southern California and he swears the Trojans have multiple Adoree' Jacksons on the field.

"I'm glad there's only one Adoree' Jackson because it seems like there's four of him," MacIntyre said. "He's everywhere. He's an excellent player. We have to know where he is."

One Jackson is plenty as far the Buffaloes are concerned. Unfortunately, the multitalented sophomore, who plays receiver, cornerback and returns kicks, isn't the only dynamic player the Buffs (4-6, 1-5 Pac-12) have to worry about when they host the Trojans (6-3, 4-2) on Friday night at Folsom Field.

"They have the most (athletes) we've seen," MacIntyre said. "They have the most we see every year."

In addition to Jackson, USC's offense features perhaps the most talented receiver in the country, Juju Smith-Schuster. Just a sophomore, he has 60 catches for 1,094 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Only three players in the country average more receiving yards per game than Smith-Schuster (121.6).

The Trojans also have a trio of exceptional running backs, led by true freshman Ronald Jones II, who has rushed for 710 yards while averaging 8.0 yards per carry.

MacIntyre is even impressed with the athleticism of their big guys.

"Their offensive line is what makes it go," he said. "Their offensive line is very big and very athletic."


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Driving the offense is quarterback Cody Kessler, a fifth-year senior who has been one of the country's top passers the past three seasons. Kessler has 79 touchdown passes and only 17 interceptions in his career.

"He's a good quarterback," CU safety Jered Bell said. "He has a great arm, he's mobile in the pocket and he has great athletes. It's important for us, like any other quarterback, to get pressure on him and knock him off his rhythm. We have to be assignment sound in this game, and if not it can be a long day like it was in previous years."

USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson returns an interception for a touchdown against California last month. The multitalented sophomore also plays receiver
USC cornerback Adoree' Jackson returns an interception for a touchdown against California last month. The multitalented sophomore also plays receiver and returns kicks, (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

CU has never really matched up with USC's talent. The Trojans are 9-0 all-time against the Buffs, including 4-0 since CU joined the Pac-12. In those four Pac-12 matchups, USC has yet to score less than 42 points or win by less than 18.

The Buffs, however, might be better prepared to handle USC's talent than in years past.

It was just three years ago that the Buffs were so depleted in the secondary that they started a wide receiver (D.D. Goodson) at cornerback against the Trojans. USC won that game, 50-6.

"The difference is we have depth and we're all healthy," said Bell, who was a sophomore on that 2012 team. "We've been able to last a whole season. Now that we have the depth and experience back there, it's been a blessing for the defense and it's helped coach (Jim) Leavitt and the play calling he wants to do."

Execution is the key against the Trojans, though, and CU knows it has to be on its game to slow down USC's weapons.

"You have to run to the football like crazy, because if they make (CU defenders) miss, at least you can get the guy cutting back and the next guy can be there," MacIntyre said. "In that case, we'll play a few more guys to keep us fresher. That way there's more guys getting to the football.

"You have to play sound. Our guys are getting better at that on defense."

Against the Trojans, the Buffs are going to have to be exceptional.

Brian Howell: howellb@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.