This isn’t the USC Trojans that people expected to see. With a returning Biletnikoff Award winner in Marqise Lee and highly touted quarterbacks vying for the starting job, USC was expected to be an offensive machine in 2013. That has been far from the case through four games with the passing game stunted and scoring proving to be difficult for this USC squad. Lane Kiffin does have one thing to like about his offense, however, and that’s the play of running back Tre Madden.
In the first four games of the season, Madden has accounted for 38.5 percent of the entire USC offensive production. He’s carried the ball in the absence of Silas Redd 90 times, averaging 5.1 yards per carry for 455 yards and a pair of touchdowns. On top of that, he’s shown he can be a weapon in the passing game as well, catching nine passes for 69 yards with a touchdown. The sophomore saw an opportunity this fall and has kicked the door down while taking it.
Madden made his case for the starting running back job almost immediately this season when he carried the ball 18 times for 108 yards in the season opener against the Hawaii Warriors. It was the first game action Madden had seen since coming to USC and he proved it wasn’t a fluke in the very next game when he constituted most of the Trojans offense against the Washington State Cougars. He finished the day with 151 yards (of USC’s 193 total yards on the day) on 32 carries.
Even on Saturday, when the Utah State Aggies played him tough, Madden showed he can be a grinder. While being held to just 3.9 yards per carry with a long of 13 yards, Madden showed patience and kept pounding away, finishing the day with 93 yards and a touchdown. He has a combination of flash and substance that is making him a very compelling candidate to be the every down back the rest of the way, even after Redd returns from injury.
While the USC offense as a whole has been a major disappointment so far this season, Tre Madden is showing that he is a legitimate star out of the backfield. Will he be able to spark the rest of the offense to get to his level or will he continue to be a one-man wrecking crew all season long?