An MRI exam of USC linebacker Su’a Cravens injured right knee showed “nothing structurally wrong,” and the sophomore will work to be available for the Trojans Nov. 13 game against California, Coach Steve Sarkisian said Sunday.
Cravens was injured Saturday during the second quarter of USC’s 44-17 victory at Washington State. He was on crutches after the game and underwent an MRI exam Sunday.
“He’s sore, obviously,” Sarkisian said during a teleconference with reporters. “How quickly he can come back from this, we’ll see.
“We’re going to do everything in our power, and I know he’s going to do everything in his power to get as healthy as he can get for next Thursday night.”
USC announced Saturday that Cravens had suffered a sprain but that he would undergo further tests upon the team’s return to Los Angeles. Asked after the game if he was initially fearful that the injury was serious, Cravens said, “Yeah. I don’t like getting hurt.”
Cravens is one of several players the Trojans hope will return for Cal after this weekend’s open date.
Linebacker J.R. Tavai suffered a knee sprain against Utah, and fullback Soma Vainuku and receiver Ajene Harris have been sidelined for several games because of hamstring injuries.
Defensive end Leonard Williams has played through shoulder issues the entire season.
To facilitate healing and physical and mental rest, the Trojans will not practice until Saturday.
They finish the season against Cal and rivals UCLA and Notre Dame.
“We need a chance to regroup, reenergize and come out and play three really good football games here coming out of the bye,” Sarkisian said. “I’m just trying to push all the right buttons to make that happen.”
The 87-yard touchdown pass play that USC quarterback Cody Kessler and receiver Nelson Agholor connected on against Washington State was a career-long for both.
“Great call by the coaching staff,” Agholor said after the game. “I think they felt like those guys were going to corner blitz and I get to run a post [route] on a safety who was a little undisciplined.
“He wasn’t in the right position, and Cody gave me a shot.”
Kessler had overthrown a long pass the previous week against Utah and, when he passed to a wide-open Agholor, thought he might have done it again.
“The wind was in my face, so I tried to put a little more on it,” Kessler said. “I thought it was too much and, luckily, Nelson has that instinct.”
Kessler and Agholor have connected for eight touchdowns this season.
High marks for Lobendahn
Freshman Toa Lobendahn drew praise after his first start at left tackle.
Lobendahn started the first eight games at left guard. He moved to tackle in the wake of Chad Wheeler’s season-ending knee injury.
“Proud of Toa stepping out there and doing a tremendous job,” Sarkisian said Sunday.
Redshirt freshman Khaliel Rodgers started for the first time at left guard and also “did a great job,” Sarkisian said.
Though victory was already in hand, Sarkisian acknowledged that he was “very aware” tailback Javorius Allen needed yardage in the fourth quarter to reach 100 yards rushing. Allen played until just more than three minutes remained and finished with 114 yards, becoming the first Trojans player to rush for at least 100 yards in six consecutive games since Marcus Allen in 1981. Sarkisian said it was a well-deserved honor for Javorius Allen and the teammates who helped him achieve it .… Asked if suspended Josh Shaw’s situation was at a point where the cornerback was definitely not going to return this season, Sarkisian said no. “It hasn’t gotten to a point where I’ve had to make a decision one way or the other, unfortunately,” he said.