USC running back Silas Redd rushes for a touchdown against the Huskies on… (Otto Greule Jr / Getty Images )
Although USC's passing attack has come under fire for falling below expectations, the Trojans' running game is developing into a fairly consistent asset.
Penn State transfer Silas Redd has rushed for more than 100 yards three times and has averaged 95 yards a game, which ranks fifth in the Pac-12 Conference.
The No. 11 Trojans, who play Colorado on Saturday at the Coliseum, have averaged 165.7 yards rushing a game. That's 34 more than at the same point last season and three more than their 2011 average.
Receiver Marqise Lee apparently has no problem with a ground-based offense when necessary. If a defense wants to "play far back," he said, then "why not run the ball."
"It's a concept thing," said Lee, who had a season-low two receptions against Washington. "If teams are going to step back, then you run the ball. If teams are going to step up, then you throw it."
USC quarterback Matt Barkley is four touchdown passes shy of breaking former Trojan Matt Leinart's conference record of 99.
Trojans receiver Robert Woods needs five receptions to break Dwayne Jarrett's USC career record of 216.
So, USC is expected to air it out against Colorado, which ranks as one of the three worst pass defenses in major-college football.
The Buffaloes are giving up 312 passing yards a game.
But Redd, who has had no fewer than 17 carries in each of the last three games, will be part of the game plan.
"He's gotten better every week," Coach Lane Kiffin said. "It's taken him a little bit of time, like it would anybody, but he's really sped up the process."
Tailback Curtis McNeal, who has not had more than 11 carries in a game, has averaged 47.2 yards.
Coming to California
Colorado, in its second season in the Pac-12 Conference, has not played USC at the Coliseum since 2000.
And though the Buffaloes are 1-5 this season, and winless in six games against the Trojans, Coach Jon Embree is looking forward to exposing potential Southland recruits to his program.
Colorado has 34 Californians on its roster.
"It's always good to go back out there and let kids play at home," Embree said in a news conference this week.
"That's one of the advantages of getting in this conference, going out and playing in Los Angeles or the Bay Area every year so that kids can learn more about your program."
Christian Powell, a freshman from Upland, is the Buffaloes' leading rusher.
Nelson Spruce, a freshman from Westlake Village, is the top receiver.
Linebacker Dion Bailey dressed for practice but left after about 30 minutes and did not return. ... Kiffin's post-practice news conference, which is conducted across the street from the practice facility, was cut short when a USC student journalist collapsed from dizziness. USC trainers attended to the student and paramedics arrived as players made their way to the locker room at the McKay Center. The student was released at the scene and was reportedly doing fine, an athletic department spokesman said.