Travis Dye is perhaps achieved for 12 months, however his affect stays

The cool autumn night grew to become unnaturally nonetheless, the crisp air and glad anticipation of one other USC victory out of the blue sucked out of the Coliseum within the second quarter Friday when Trojans operating again Travis Dye was tackled to the inexperienced grass and stayed there, clutching his left leg in apparent ache.

His teammates gave him area, taking a knee and watching from a respectful distance whereas medical personnel tended to the 23-year-old senior from Norco, whose dedication and management expertise made him an important match since he transferred from Oregon. He was fitted with an air forged, and a cart was summoned to take him off the sector for remedy. Earlier than he left, all of his teammates crowded round him, patting his shoulder or providing a hopeful phrase and optimistic thought.

Even visiting Colorado acknowledged his valor. A number of Buffaloes joined the group surrounding the medical cart, an uncommon and touching show of sportsmanship and empathy.

“That definitely took a toll on a lot of people, for who he is as a person and what he means to this team on and off the field,” USC broad receiver Tahj Washington stated. “That’s just a testament to who he is and how much respect he has, even from both sides. Both teams rallied around him to support him in that moment.”

Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams spoke to Dye earlier than the cart ferried him to the locker room. Dye’s expression was unhappy — even his trademark mustache appeared to droop — however he managed to present a thumbs-up sign and supply a two-fingered Trojan salute as the gang applauded.

“I just told him I love him. Looked him in the eye, told him I love him and we’re going to go get this,” Williams stated.

And so they did, overcoming a sluggish begin offensively to run off with a 55-17 victory of their remaining warmup earlier than subsequent Saturday’s showdown with UCLA on the Rose Bowl.

Their protection held up effectively after permitting 115 factors within the earlier three video games, and Williams sustained his excellence by throwing three landing passes and operating for 2 extra. Their 41-10 lead after three quarters was snug sufficient that coach Lincoln Riley might relaxation Williams and provides Miller Moss some taking part in time.

It was a recreation the Trojans (9-1, 7-1 in Pacific-12 play) ought to have received simply, and as soon as they acquired previous their early offensive hiccups, they merely overpowered Colorado (1-9, 1-5).

But the exact particulars have been much less vital than the affect of dropping Dye to an damage that Riley wouldn’t determine, saying he wished to await affirmation of the preliminary analysis. Riley additionally stated Dye’s season probably is completed however his long-term NFL prospects wouldn’t be affected.

“It sucks. There’s really no other way to put it,” Riley stated. “It’s one of the tough parts of this game. This game, it’s given Trav a lot, he’s put a lot into it. He’s had an awesome career, he’s had an awesome run here for us this year, there’s no way we would be sitting here where we’re at as a football team without him.”

Dye spoke to the staff within the locker room at halftime, impressing his teammates together with his presence as a lot as together with his phrases. “We knew what we had to do going forward,” Washington stated. “He came in there and gave us some words of encouragement. Some well-needed words of encouragement, just to finish this thing. Just do what we do.

USC teammates congratulate running back Travis Dye (26) after he scored on a 12-yard run against California on Nov. 5 at the Coliseum.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

“We all respect him. We all look up to him. And the words he had to say, everybody listened. Everybody took that to heart and went out there and played for him.”

Dye returned to the sidelines within the second half leaning on crutches and together with his lower-left foot closely wrapped. Riley appreciated that though Dye’s night time was achieved — and sure his season as effectively — he wished to remain concerned.

“His role will probably be a little bit different going forward here for this team, but he’ll still be a huge leader and a huge part of it,” Riley stated.

Nonetheless, it received’t be fairly the identical as a result of greater than being the Trojans’ main rusher with 884 internet yards, Dye had turn into their heartbeat.

He left Oregon, the place he had run for 3,111 yards in 521 carries in 4 seasons and led the Pac-12 Convention final season with 1,672 all-purpose yards, to come back residence to California and begin a brand new life together with his spouse, Erin. He wished to be close to his household.

He discovered one other household at USC by serving to flip round a program that for too lengthy couldn’t rise above mediocre.

These Trojans aren’t settling for second finest. They’re pushing each other in a wholesome method, sharing success and taking accountability for errors. There’s a spirit and feistiness amongst them. Dye, in a short while, was a catalyst in making that occur.

“Tremendously important and I say, important to the culture, but really important to the competitive nature and the way we practice and the energy and the competitiveness and the physicality and the toughness,” Riley stated of Dye’s affect.

“He was one of the key cogs in this team making some real progress there, and I think we all know that was something that had to happen here, and he was a central figure in that. His presence on the field, his presence on the practice field, all of that, it got everybody going. He’s just an infectious leader and an infectious personality.”

Brenden Rice, who caught a 32-yard landing go on the second play after Dye was taken off the sector, paid Dye the last word praise. “He’s a dog. He’s a pure dog,” Rice stated. “And I hope, bless his heart, hopefully God goes ahead and blesses him in a speedy recovery. And just seeing him go down, you could just see the energy in the team and how we just wanted to go out there and finish that game for him and we did just that.”

The Trojans’ depth shall be examined subsequent week and in opposition to Notre Dame the week after that, and once more in no matter would possibly observe after that. Their resolve shall be challenged too. One of the simplest ways they will honor Dye is to maintain the vitality he introduced and proceed that tradition change he did a lot to result in.