Travis Dye has been a workhorse for USC Football this year. He wasn't necessarily supposed to be, as SC has other competent backs on the roster; THREE of them to be exact. Those backs would be Austin Jones, Raleek Brown, and Darwin Barlow. Heck, all of them are averaging at LEAST 4.4 yards per carry. Jones even leads the Trojans with 6.4 yards per tote.
Dye has been so great himself, though, that he's received the bulk of the carries and more. He has 121 carries (and 18 catches). Jones, who is in second place for carries, has 40 of them. Why has Dye earned so much more playing time? There are multiple reasons, but to make a long story short, it's because he's performing above and beyond the expectations that SC had for their RB1.
A big part of that is who he's been as a scoring threat with the Trojans. He's scored a rushing touchdown in seven straight games now. No USC running back has done that since Ronald Jones did it in 2016. That's the last time SC had a true, featured back; when Jones was manning the backfield.
Clearly, USC has a reason to appoint Dye as a workhorse this year...He's even doing what Jones used to do. In fact, he's been arguably better this year than what Jones was. He's somehow topped Jones' 6.1 yards per carry average at 6.3. He's already at 176 receiving yards on the season. Jones' career-high for receiving yards in a season was 187 receiving yards.
That doesn't mean, however, that Travis Dye has definitely been a better running back for USC Football than Ronald Jones.
Remember, Travis Dye has been arguably better than Jones was when he played for the USC Football program. Dye will have a long way to go if he wants to hit 19 rushing touchdowns (and 20 total touchdowns) like Jones did in 2017. That being said, Dye still does have eight total touchdowns (all rushing), which is still something to celebrate.
It's not about who is better between Jones and Dye. What's important is that Dye is scoring on a consistent basis that hasn't been seen at SC since Jones played here. The wild thing is that Riley has even been criticized this year for not running Dye enough.
One thing's for certain, though, and that's that he hasn't abandoned the running game. Dye's effectiveness in finding the end zone wouldn't have happened if running the football wasn't a major part of this offense's identity.