No. 13 USC RB Malepeai unlikely to play in Pac-12 title sport


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Main rusher Vavae Malepeai is unlikely to play for No. 13 Southern California within the Pac-12 championship sport towards Oregon on Friday night time.

USC coach Clay Helton stated Wednesday that Malepeai sprained a ligament in his knee throughout the unbeaten Trojans’ 43-38 victory over UCLA final weekend.

”Vavae might be not enjoying on this sport,” Helton stated. ”He has not practiced this week. Doesn’t look good for the sport getting in.”

USC (5-0) doubtless must play for its third win in 13 days with out the senior tailback, who leads the Trojans with 238 yards and three touchdowns this season. Malepeai rushed for a season-high 110 yards towards the Bruins, however sprained the medial collateral ligament in his knee late within the sport.

Malepeai has 1,503 yards dashing and 17 touchdowns for the Trojans over 4 seasons marked by accidents and glorious stretches.

USC has relied closely on Kedon Slovis and its passing sport this season in coordinator Graham Harrell’s model of the Air Raid offense, leaving the Trojans final within the Pac-12 with simply 109.2 yards dashing per sport. Oregon’s dashing protection is just ninth within the Pac-12, giving up a median of 184.2 yards per sport.

Nonetheless, Tailback U. is sort of deep on the place, and Helton expects sophomore Markese Stepp and senior Stephen Carr to take extra outstanding roles towards the Geese (3-2).

Stepp has 140 yards and two touchdowns in 4 video games this season, and the 235-pound runner supplies an approximation of Malepeai’s bodily model. Stepp’s 2019 season ended after simply six video games resulting from an ankle damage that required surgical procedure, and he spent a lot of the offseason rehabilitating from that damage after which combating off a case of turf toe.

Stepp had only one carry towards UCLA, nevertheless it was a gritty 2-yard run on third-and-short to maintain alive a drive that led to a go-ahead landing for USC within the fourth quarter of its comeback win.

”I feel Markese is on the verge of exploding,” Helton stated. ”It has not been the simplest of roads in coping with an damage, particularly the one he had, at working again. … I am unable to wait to observe him play. I do know he is trying ahead to it. It is neat to see his enthusiasm and the way excited he’s for this week. I feel he is proper on the verge of doing one thing particular, and we want him to.”

Carr, who has additionally fought quite a few accidents in his USC profession, has 136 yards dashing and two touchdowns this season. USC additionally has sophomore monitor star Kenan Christon, who has been given simply 10 carries this season.

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