Colorado certainly would not be considered stingy on defense.

However, the Buffaloes have, on occasion, proven that they are capable of doing some good things on that side of the ball.

During Friday's 27-24 loss to Southern California at Folsom Field, the Buffs held the Trojans to just 129 yards on the ground and kept their running backs out of the end zone.

Justin Davis had a 29-yard gain on USC's first run of the night, but the Trojans had just 100 yards on 36 carries the rest of the way. USC's 3.49 average per carry was its lowest of the season, and only one team had held the Trojans to fewer rushing yards.

"I felt like we did a good job on the run defense, but we didn't win the game," defensive tackle Justin Solis said. "Ultimately, that's our goal to win the game. We can always improve on that."

CU limited USC's leading rusher, Ronald Jones II, to 61 yards on 19 carries, while Davis finished with 85 yards on 14 attempts.

The Buffs' run defense proved to be crucial in limiting the USC offense most of the night.

"We tackled better," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "We ran to the ball, we hit them, we harassed their quarterback. I thought they played valiantly. They keep improving, they keep fighting. We're getting more physical, we're getting better. That's a big offensive line and our guys held up in there, I thought, pretty well."

Emergency plan?

With starting quarterback Sefo Liufau out for the season with a foot injury, the Buffs are turning to Cade Apsay and Jordan Gehrke as the top two quarterbacks.


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That moves true freshman Steven Montez to No. 3, but the Buffs are hoping they don't have to burn his redshirt.

Should the Buffs get to a point where Apsay and Gehrke both get injured, MacIntyre may have to get creative.

"We have to work on an emergency third guy," he said. "We have a couple guys that have played high school quarterback."

One option could be T.J. Patterson, a walk-on transfer quarterback from Boulder High School.

Notable

Three different quarterbacks have thrown their first touchdown as Buffs to Nelson Spruce: Jordan Webb (in 2012), Liufau (in 2013) and Apsay. ... Tight end/fullback George Frazier caught a TD pass against USC. It was Frazier's fifth career touchdown, but his first this season. ... Punter Alex Kinney had three more punts land inside the 20-yard line. He's had 21 such punts this year, tying Darragh O'Neill's CU freshman record.

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