BOULDER, Colo. -- This game came down to talent, not temperature.
"After a couple of plays, I warmed up," sophomore Javorius Allen said after running for a career-best 145 yards and three touchdowns in No. 23 Southern California's 47-29 win over Colorado in 29-degree weather.
That's tied for the second-coldest kickoff in the Trojans' storied history.
"I'm from Bakersfield, this doesn't bother me," said USC quarterback Cody Kessler, who followed Allen into the stands afterward to lead the band in the school's fight song, "Conquest."
Allen's from Tallahassee, Fla., and he had never seen snow before. He went to the piles that were plowed off to the side of the field and his frozen fingers quickly made him regret making his first snowball.
He was eager to get inside and warm up after the game, but he was summoned into the stands to lead the band.
"I was about to run in here, it was cold," said Allen, who averaged 6.9 yards on his 21 carries.
The Trojans (9-3, 6-2 Pac-12) improved to 8-0 all-time against the Buffaloes (4-7, 1-7).
The only downer for the Trojans was getting left out in the cold in the Pac-12 race as No. 17 Arizona State held off No. 14 UCLA 38-33 earlier Saturday to clinch the South division.
The Buffaloes saw their slim bowl hopes come to an end in what might have been star receiver Paul Richardson's final home game. He didn't catch a pass until midway through the third quarter, and by that time, the Buffs trailed by 30.
For much of the night, he was smothered by cornerback Josh Shaw on short underneath routes, unable to get open for even short gains while this was still a game up for grabs.
Richardson broke free and finished with eight catches for 88 yards, including a 5-yard TD grab with 3:19 left that pulled Colorado to 40-29 after the 2-point conversion. That also gave Richardson the school single-season receptions record of 79, besting D.J. Hackett's 2003 mark of 78.
The Buffs couldn't recover the onside kick, however, and fullback Soma Vainuku's 52-yard TD run two plays later sealed it.
Colorado lost for just the second time in 14 home games in sub-30 degree weather at kickoff.
The Trojans have played in a handful of 29-degree games. The only time they played in a colder game was on Nov. 30, 1957, when they lost 40-12 at Notre Dame in 20-degree weather, the last time they had to play in snow.
This time, the snow that blanketed the Front Range earlier in the week was plowed off to the side.
"It wasn't like it was freezing cold and it was snowing the whole time," Kessler said. "No, I don't think it fazed us."
"I thought it was rather pleasant tonight compared to what we heard it was going to be like," said interim head coach Ed Orgeron, who is 6-1 heading into next weekend's showdown against archrival UCLA.
The Trojans had no hangover from their statement win over then-No. 5 Stanford nor did they get caught peeking ahead to the Bruins. They dominated the Buffaloes on every front in building a 37-7 lead.
Allen's two first-half TD runs were sandwiched around Vainuku's block of Darragh O'Neill's punt that bounced out of the end zone for a safety.
While the Buffaloes gave their fans little to cheer about, senior Colorado cheerleader Ozell Williams wowed the crowd with a dizzying 57 handsprings between the first and second quarters before pulling up at the 5-yard line to gather himself.
That's by far the closest any Buffalo got to the end zone in the first half.
Things changed quickly when Allen was stripped on USC's first play of the third quarter and safety Jered Bell scooped up the fumble and returned it 31 yards for the score to make it 23-7.
Allen quickly atoned with a 46-yard scamper that set up Randall Telfer's 10-yard TD catch. Then he took it in untouched from 23 yards to make it 37-7.
Colorado first-year coach Mike MacIntyre took solace in his team's late push.
"Last (home) game of the year, freezing cold, down, you keep fighting, you keep battling. They were excited. They were pumped up. It wasn't it was a dead sideline," he said. "That shows you a lot of internal fortitude. If they keep doing that and keep doing that and keep doing that, good things will eventually happen."
A playoff trilogy, intriguing coaching matchups, and renewed rivalries highlight this year's bowl season.
From 41 to 1, set your picks for Bowl Mania with confidence with help from our Insider cheat sheet, featuring complete rankings and insights to help you optimize your selections.
The Buckeyes have two commitments from defensive tackles ranked among the top 53 in the country with the pledge of DT Tommy Togiai of Pocatello, Idaho.
Game-winning kicks, Hail Marys, streak-breaking scores, amazing comebacks and seven overtimes are all highlights of the year's best games.
Houston Griffith, who was formerly committed to Florida State, is a hybrid-type defensive back who could develop at corner or safety for the Irish.
Mark Schlabach breaks down which teams will have the advantage in the Rose and Sugar Bowls.