Throughout the season, the Colorado football team has faced a lot of high quality receivers.

Against USC on Friday night, however, the Buffs face perhaps the best receiver in the country.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound sophomore leads the Pac-12 (and ranks fourth nationally) with 121.6 receiving yards per game and has a conference-best six 100-yard games. No other Pac-12 receiver has more than three.

"He's got great ball skills, he's elusive and he's probably their best route runner," said Joe Tumpkin, who coaches CU's safeties.

It's not much of a surprise to see USC feature one of the nation's best receivers. Since 1996, when Keyshawn Johnson was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, USC has had 16 receivers drafted to the NFL.

"You look at the tradition USC has and they've always had great receivers - great receivers and great running backs, and that hasn't changed," Tumpkin said. "And, their quarterback is a good football player and makes good decisions. Is it is a challenge for us? Yes. Are we up to the challenge? I believe so."

Notable

  • CU head coach Mike MacIntyre has great respect for Kessler and all the USC receivers, but he also expects to get a heavy dose of Trojan running backs Justin Davis and Ronald Jones II. "They do have a good passing attack, but since (interim coach Clay) Helton has come in, they're running the ball more," MacIntyre said. "I think that's helped them a little bit on offense.

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  • Tonight will be Larry Zimmer's last game after 42 years of calling CU games for KOA and CU will honor him after the first quarter. "I think it's great to honor him and he deserves it," MacIntyre said. "I'm really glad he's here. This time last year we all weren't sure he was going to be here. I'm really excited that we're here and able to honor him and he's able to be honored."
  • CU has been on a non-stop schedule this year, with 13 games and no bye weeks. With a Friday game this week, the Buffs will have an extra day to prepare for next week's game at Washington State. Earlier this week, MacIntyre joked, "This weekend is our mini bye week."
  • The Buffs are 13-3 all-time on Nov. 13, with nine consecutive wins.
  • With three games to go, linebacker Rick Gamboa isn't likely to break Addison Gillam's school record for tackles by a freshman. Gillam had 119, while Gamboa is at 68. Gamboa could finish second, though. He's currently fourth, needing just 15 tackles to pass Jordan Dizon (82 in 2004) and 18 to pass Matt Russell (85 in 1993).
  • Nelson Spruce needs 272 receiving yards in the next three games to hit 1,000 for the year. That would give him back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. To date, only two players in CU history have done that: Charles Johnson (1992 and 1993) and Rae Carruth (1995 and 1996).

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