Caleb Williams was the biggest addition to the USC bout this off-season, but Dye’s move from Oregon proved a close second. The way teammates surrounded the injury cart in a sea of cardinal and gold showed that Dye’s influence was far deeper than his team leader 885 yards, 145 carries and nine touchdowns.
Dye’s replacement falls to Austin Jones, a transfer from Stanford that showed its potential with a 110-yard, 12-carry match against Fresno State on September 17. But Jones had only 65 combined running yards in the next six games as he struggled to stay on the pitch due to pass-protection deficiencies.
With the starting role in his hands, Jones said his goal remains the same.
“Get ready and be ready because at the end of the day, when an opportunity presents itself, I have to take it,” Jones said.
With Dye’s injury, Jones finished with 74 yards on 11 carries on Friday and led the team into receptions with four for 39 yards and a touchdown.
“What a good guy we have to turn to Austin,” said head coach Lincoln Riley, who also highlighted the play of Raleek Brown and Darwin Barlow. “The depth of that room will be tested and we have three guys in that room ready to go.”
Brown finished with 53 yards on seven carries and Barlow had 41 yards and a touchdown on five rushes.