With a game every week, there’s rarely much time to dwell on a single win or loss in college football.
For the Colorado Buffaloes, there’s even less time this week.
Following Saturday’s 42-10 loss to Stanford, the Buffs will host Southern California on Friday night at Folsom Field.
“We have a short week this week so we have to bounce back,” senior receiver Nelson Spruce said. “We kind of talked about that in the locker room (after Saturday’s loss).”
The locker room was not a happy place after the loss to Stanford, but Spruce said the Buffs (4-6, 1-5 Pac-12) have to stay motivated going forward.
“I feel like this is kind of the worst game we played all year,” he said. “I don’t think it’s really indicative of the team we are, and that we’ve been. I’m encouraging them to keep fighting.”
At this point, about all the Buffs can do is encourage each other. They are still mathematically in the hunt for bowl eligibility, but need to go 3-0 the rest of the way to get there.
Considering they are 3-30 in Pac-12 games the last four seasons, and have never won two conference games in a row since joining the league in 2011, winning three in a row seems unlikely.
Even after getting blown out by Stanford, however, the Buffs still sounded like they’ve got some fight in them going down the stretch.
“We have to come together as men,” safety Tedric Thompson said. “It’s out of coaches hands at this point. They’re doing everything they’re supposed to do. They’re giving us the right calls. They put us through the right drills. We have to buckle down as men, accomplish our goals and things will be able to turn around.”
At the start of his postgame press conference Saturday afternoon, Stanford coach David Shaw went out of his way to throw his support behind Mike MacIntyre, who fell to 10-24 as CU’s head coach.
“First of all, I have to say this: not enough credit is given to Mike MacIntyre and the job he’s done here at Colorado,” Shaw said. “They’re fighting everybody, they’re really close. You can see it in the way we played offense today. They made a lot of things very difficult. The score doesn’t look like it, but we had to come with reverses and trick plays because we thought they were very sound, fought very hard, and were very physical.
“The score is what it is, but I think coach MacIntyre has done a phenomenal job here.”
Red zone woes
CU scored on all nine trips to the red zone during the first three games of Pac-12 play, but in the last three, the Buffs have scored on just nine of 14 trips to the red zone (64.3 percent). Only five of those scores have been touchdowns.
CU ranks last in the Pac-12 in red zone offense for the season, scoring on just 72.7 percent of its chances (32 of 44; 22 TDs, 10 field goals).
In 2014, the Buffs ranked third in the Pac-12 in red zone scoring, at 88.9 percent (40 of 45, with 29 TDs)
The last time CU was below 75 percent for a season was in 2008 (72.2; 26 of 36).
Backup quarterback Cade Apsay got into a game for just the second time this season, and for his career. Apsay went 3-for-5 for 23 yards and had an 18-yard run, but was intercepted once and sacked three times. … Spruce had four catches for 64 yards in the first half Saturday, but just one catch for 11 yards in the second half. … USC is just outside of the Associated Press Top 25, listed as the top team among “others receiving votes.”
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.
CU opponent glance
Opponent: Southern California Trojans
Game time: Friday, 7 p.m. at Folsom Field in Boulder.
Coach: Clay Helton, 1st season (interim, 3-1)
Record: 6-3, 4-2 Pac-12
Last week: Beat Arizona, 38-30
Key players: QB Cody Kessler, Sr. (196 of 283, 2,511 yards, 20 TD, 5 INT); WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, So. (60 catches, 1,094 yards, 9 TD; RB Ronald Jones II, Fr. (89 rushes, 710 yards, 6 TD); RB Justin Davis, Jr. (85 rushes, 420 yards, 5 TD); RB Tre Madden, Sr. (77 rushes, 418 yards, 5 TD); CB/WR/PR/KR Adoree Jackson, So. (18 tackles, 1 INT; 23 catches, 379 yards, 2 TD; 8.2-yards per punt return; 22.6 yards per kick return); CB Cameron Smith, Fr. (72 tackles, 3 INT); LB Su’a Cravens, Jr. (58 tackles, 10 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 2 INT); DT Delvon Simmons, Sr. (41 tackles, 3 sacks).
Notable: Helton took over as head coach after Steve Sarkisian was fired last month. … Helton is in his sixth season on the USC coaching staff, his third as offensive coordinator. … The Trojans are on a three-game winning streak for the first time since late in the 2013 season when they won five in a row.