Allen Bradford is hoping for a final opportunity Saturday night when USC plays UCLA at the Rose Bowl in what will be the last game of his college career.
The senior tailback rushed for 131 yards against Minnesota in September and 223 yards against Washington two weeks later, but his carries have diminished since. He had none against Arizona or last week against Notre Dame.
"I had a good week of practice," Bradford said. "Whenever I get in there, I'm going to try and make the most of my opportunity."
Bradford has averaged a team-best 7.1 yards a carry and scored four touchdowns, but Coach Lane Kiffin has said the former Colton High standout's inability to consistently secure the ball opened the door for other tailbacks.
However, the Trojans' rushing attack has faltered in the last two games, gaining 120 yards in a loss to Oregon State and only 74 in a defeat to Notre Dame.
"Our offense doesn't do very much when our running game doesn't go," Kiffin said. "It kind of sets up everything else, so I'm sure that will be a major part of the story line of the game."
Junior Marc Tyler has started the last three games, eight in all. He has scored nine touchdowns and averaged 72 yards a game, but has been nursing a sore ankle since carrying 31 times for 160 yards against Arizona on Nov. 13.
Freshman Dillon Baxter and senior C.J. Gable have averaged 28 and 20 yards, respectively. Each has scored one touchdown.
Tony Burnett, a walk-on who played most of the Notre Dame game in place of injured safety T.J. McDonald, is expected to start against the Bruins.
Burnett, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound sophomore, made 10 tackles against Notre Dame after McDonald hurt his shoulder on the first series.
The Trojans' defensive backfield has been thinned by the loss of McDonald, safety Jawanza Starling (hamstring) and cornerbacks Torin Harris (shoulder) and T.J. Bryant (shoulder). Brian Baucham, who suffered a shoulder injury against Notre Dame, practiced late in the week and could be available Saturday.
USC leads the series with the Bruins, 44-28-7. … The 7:30 p.m. kickoff is the second-latest start in series history. The 1945 game started at 8:30.