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Sunglasses and Advil: USC 35, Colorado 31 Edition

What was Mel Tucker doing?

Am I crazy or did I see Mel Tucker punt on fourth-and-4 from the USC 38-yard line with a three-point lead in the fourth quarter?

OK, so that really did happen. Thank heaven I have not gone insane. 

But I'm afraid Mel Tucker might have suffered a temporary bout of it. This is a man who called a flea-flicker from his own end zone, and he's punting from the 38! I know this stuff is harder than it looks when you're the guy standing there on the sideline making the big decisions. But my land! That's like something you'd have seen Marty Schottenheimer do in 1993. 

Because the Football Gods are nothing if not consistent, Tucker was punished for his decision with a touchdown drive by USC that resulted in an eventual 35-31 win. 

It was a real shame because Colorado actually played pretty well Friday night. 

Going into the game, I thought there was some chance the Buffaloes would just fold entirely. They'd been blown out two weeks in a row, and had three players leave the program in a week. 

But they came out fired up and playing well. True freshman cornerback KJ Trujillo had a great night, and the defense as a whole was relatively good. The Buffaloes did give up 406 passing yards, but they it was a sloppy 406. USC quarterback Kedon Slovis threw 14 incompletions and had a rating of 66.9 while the Trojans ran for just 116 yards. 

On offense, Colorado ran for 196 yards on 5.8 yards per attempt. The running game seems to get better with each passing week. And quarterback Steven Montez had a bit of a bounce-back game, throwing for 324 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. 

Even Laviska Shenault (remember him?) broke out with nine catches for 172 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown catch. 

This really, probably should have been a Colorado win. It would have made CU 4-4, with a game against UCLA coming up for a possible fifth win. That would have meant Colorado needed to beat only one of these teams to make a bowl game -- Stanford, Washington, Utah. 

Alas ... Tucker punted.