Joey Kaufman, who covers USC for the Orange County Register, provides his insight into this matchup with CU:

3 Trojans key to this game

1. Ronald Jones, RB: As USC has handled Arizona and Arizona State the past two weeks, Jones has surged, rushing for a combined 410 yards in the two victories. USC is 10-1 in the past three seasons when Jones reaches at least 100 rushing yards.

2. Sam Darnold, QB: The redshirt sophomore passer was plagued by turnovers for much of the season, but has been sharper in recent weeks with only two interceptions in the past four games, including a 195.09 pass efficiency rating against the Wildcats, his second best mark this fall.

3. Uchenna Nwosu, LB: USC's defense has been effective when it's pressuring quarterbacks, particularly by its outside linebackers. Nwosu had three of six sacks at Arizona State.

Who they're talking about

CU players the Trojans have talked most about this week:

1. Phillip Lindsay, RB: USC safety Chris Hawkins recited Lindsay's season rushing total, noting it was more than Jones' accumulation. It's fair to say he has their attention.

2. Steven Montez, QB: Montez made one of his first career starts as a redshirt freshman last season against the Trojans, nearly prevailing in a matchup with the Darnold-led bunch. "He's really coming on," USC coach Clay Helton said.


3. Shay Fields, WR: Most of the Trojans know Fields well, as he went to Southern California football powerhouse St. John Bosco High. Three of USC's players were high school teammates, including defensive end Malik Dorton, center Nico Falah and punter Reid Budrovich.

Key statistic for USC

Turnovers and penalties: The Trojans have been sloppy with the ball throughout much of this season, tied for the fifth most turnovers (21) in the FBS and fourth most penalties (75) as of Thursday morning, an issue that can put them in jeopardy of an upset.

USC can win this game if ...

It doesn't overlook at team that won the Pac-12 South Division a season ago, but is now fighting for bowl eligibility.

Brian Howell at or