Austin Jones played like he was possessed in Saturday night's thriller between USC Football and UCLA. He ran for 120 rushing yards on 21 carries. That's a 5.7 yards per carry average. He handled the RB1 role perfectly, and picked the Trojans up after Travis Dye was announced as out for the season after SC's Week 11 tilt against Colorado.
And be honest--every single person reading this had to look real hard at Jones to make sure he was indeed Jones...Just to make sure that it was a just a 6 on his jersey, and not a 2 to the left of the 6. It's okay to admit that. He certainly looked just like he was Dye on Saturday, wearing that 26. And while he was indeed Jones, and wearing his normal jersey, there was a No. 26 on Jones during the game:
Jones writing 26 on his wrist for the UCLA game was just perfect. He wanted to win this game for his brother Dye, and he did. Again, it's not just the rushing yards that did the trick for the Trojans. He also had two rushing TOUCHDOWNS, and looked great in the passing game too.
Despite the great wide receiver group that the Trojans have, Dye still had the second-most catches on the team (four), and the third-most receiving yards on the team (57). His performance was unreal, and answered any questions of whether USC's running game could respond to Dye's absence or not.
This is now two weeks in a row for Jones, in his efforts to minimize the damage that's been done with Dye not being able to play from now on this year. Last week, Dye of course went down in the second quarter, and Jones ran wild then too. Jones had 74 rushing yards on 11 carries, and four catches for 39 receiving yards and a touchdown catch.
This is also now two weeks in a row that Austin Jones has made a tribute to USC Football RB Travis Dye.
Last week, Austin Jones threw up the No. 26 with his fingers after he scored his touchdown with USC Football, making sure to shout out his teammate Travis Dye. It almost feels like Dye's still on the field with his teammates, and it's essentially because he is. They seem to play like he's out there with him, and particularly Jones, who not only is playing like him but refuses to forget him.
Dye is credited to being a major part of the culture change at USC this year, and those effects are very clearly still being felt even with him not between the white lines right now. There's probably nothing more that Dye would have wanted than to see Jones all the way up to 455 rushing yards this year on 6.2 yards per carry.
He scored his fourth and fifth rushing touchdowns of the season against the Bruins. Heck, Jones is also now up to 191 receiving yards. The team is now 10-1, just one season after they had the worst season in USC history. Jones' tribute seems to make it apparent that Dye's had as great an impact as any on that remarkable turnaround.