USC has one of the Pac-12’s most powerful offenses, but the unit may have lost a crucial piece Friday night.
Running back Travis Dye was carted off the field after going down in a heap in the first half vs. Colorado. Dye appeared to suffer an injury to his left leg or knee.
The entire USC team was on the field for several minutes while medical staff evaluated Dye, and many Colorado players joined them to show their support.
— Chris Treviño (@ChrisNTrevino) November 12, 2022
Dye was back on the USC sideline in the third quarter, but in street clothes and on crutches. He received a hug from Austin Jones after Jones scored a touchdown late in the period.
No. 8 USC can hardly afford to lose Dye, who helped to provide stability to the offense when the passing game wasn’t in rhythm.
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Despite the star-studded connection between Caleb Williams and Jordan Addison, USC averaged 182.4 rushing yards per game entering Friday’s game. More than half those yards came from Dye, who had 858 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground through nine games.
Here’s what you need to know about Dye’s injury:
Travis Dye injury update
Dye’s leg appeared to bend awkwardly underneath him at the end of a short run. He immediately grabbed his leg in pain. He was lifted onto the cart after being down on the ground for several minutes.
The exact nature of the injury isn’t known.
Dye’s leg appeared to be placed in an air cast before he was loaded onto the cart. That indicates there is instability in the leg, which is a bad sign for his availability going forward.
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Dye gave a thumbs up to the crowd while the cart drove him off the field and into the locker room.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 12, 2022
Losing Dye would be a huge blow to USC’s offense as the Trojans look to win a Pac-12 title and earn a College Football Playoff berth. The fifth-year running back easily leads the team with 1,106 scrimmage yards.
USC RB depth chart
1. Travis Dye
The Trojans haven’t operated with a backfield-by-committee like some of their Pac-12 counterparts this season. Dye has been a workhorse with 858 yards and nine touchdowns through nine games coming into Friday. He was averaging 6.3 yards per attempt.
When it comes to experience, it doesn’t get much better than Dye. The Oregon transfer is in his fifth collegiate season and has 4,768 career scrimmage yards.
2. Austin Jones
Jones entered Friday’s game with just 41 carries this season, but he has been efficient with 6.4 yards per attempt.
A Stanford transfer, Jones handled more than 100 rushing attempts in each of his last two seasons with the Cardinal. If Dye is out for the remainder of the season, Jones will have a huge opportunity to prove himself.
3. Raleek Brown
Brown has seen minimal work this season with just 96 yards and a touchdown on 24 attempts.
The freshman four-star recruit has received only nine carries since the start of October, but he could suddenly become the change-of-pace back and earn playing time for 2023 if Dye is out long term.