Tailback Javorius Allen wants to finish the regular season with a flourish.
For himself, but mainly for
"I always push hard, but I just need to push deeper not for myself but for my seniors and make sure they go out on a good note," Allen said.
Allen, a fourth-year junior, also could be making his final Coliseum appearance.
He in once again eligible for the
So Allen hopes to rebound from his last two performances with a solid finish.
Allen has rushed for 1,244 yards. He is averaging 113.1 yards per game, which ranks third in the Pac-12 Conference behind
Allen rushed for more than 100 yards in six consecutive games this season, but he was limited to 60 yards in 21 carries against California and 60 yards in 14 carries against UCLA.
This season, coaches encouraged Allen to run in a fashion that enabled him to produce more yards after he broke through the defensive line.
Allen, who has said he would wait until after the season to decide whether he will enter the draft, responded with some of his best performances.
On Thursday, Coach
When a player has a run of success such as Allen's, Sarkisian said, a back "can at times, maybe, have a tendency to try to look for the big play.
"What we're trying to get Buck back to doing is run the run, and run physical, run hard, finish runs and when those big runs present themselves, he'll take advantage of it because he's prepared and running that way."
Allen, playing as a reserve, rushed for 20 yards in seven carries in USC's 14-10 loss to Notre Dame at South Bend, Ind., last season.
Sophomore tailback Justin Davis also is looking forward to playing against the Fighting Irish.
Last season, he suffered a season-ending broken ankle at Notre Dame Stadium.
"I'll remember that till the day I die," Davis said this week.
Teammates carried Davis to the locker room after the game.
"I was mad," Davis said, "because I guess Notre Dame didn't have any carts."
Davis had rushed for 12 yards in two carries against the Fighting Irish before he was injured. He underwent ankle surgery, sat out spring practice and slowly regained confidence during training camp and the early part of this season.
The experience at Notre Dame last season will motivate Davis on Saturday.
"It brings a lot more life in me to play Notre Dame," he said, adding, "I just want to erase that and have a great game."
Davis is coming off a solid performance against UCLA.
He rushed for 37 yards in nine carries and caught four passes for 25 yards, including one for a two-yard touchdown.
Davis said he was happy to play a supporting role to Allen.
"Buck's been carrying the team, basically, the whole year," he said. "And it's just my job to take a little bit of the load off him."
Tight end Bryce Dixon's progression from concussion symptoms that kept him out of practice early in the week was "right where it needs to be," Sarkisian said, adding that the freshman on Friday could receive clearance to play Saturday against Notre Dame.