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USC's Javorius Allen, now a potential Heisman candidate, worked for it

USC's Javorius Allen, now a potential Heisman candidate, worked for it
USC running back Javorius Allen led the Trojans in rushing the last two seasons. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

It was a simple message, directly delivered from a USC legend to a Trojans tailback on the rise.

Javorius Allen recalled how Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Allen gave him advice during a visit with the Trojans last season.

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"He just said, 'Buck, if you keep working the way you're working, it's going to pay off,' which it did," Javorius Allen said.

Allen emerged as a star in the second half of the 2013 season and he has continued his ascent, becoming the first USC back since Marcus Allen to rush for more than 100 yards in six consecutive games.

On Monday, Javorius Allen and USC received letters from the Heisman Trophy Trust informing them that the junior from Florida had been elevated to a potential candidate for the award that is presented annually to college football's most outstanding player.

Allen has rushed for 1,124 yards and eight touchdowns.

It's a long way from the 2,427 yards Marcus Allen ran for during his Heisman-winning 1981 season, but Javorius Allen is on pace to become the first USC player to lead the conference in rushing since Ricky Ervins ran for 1,395 yards in 1989.

USC offensive players were not made available to the media Monday, but Allen indicated the day before that personal achievements were secondary to team goals. "Breaking records, stats, all that — it's not important to me," he said.

Allen hopes to continue his splendid season Thursday night when the Trojans play California at the Coliseum.

He benefited from the week off the Trojans enjoyed after defeating Washington State on Nov. 1.

"I'm not going to say I needed the rest, but it was great to have it and get your legs back," he said. "I think that goes for all the guys."

Quick comeback

Linebacker Su'a Cravens appears to be moving as if nothing happened, but he acknowledged that he was initially "a little scared" after he suffered a knee injury against Washington State.

"I wasn't worried after I saw my MRI [exam]," he said.

Cravens recovered from the sprain during the Trojans' time off, rehabilitating with the use of an underwater treadmill.

Option play

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Kickoff time for the Nov. 22 game at UCLA will be announced Sunday, and the list of options is greater than any spread offense the Trojans will face this season.

Possible times and televising networks: 12:30 p.m., on either Channel 7/ESPN2 or ESPN; 1 p.m., on FOX Sports 1; 4 p.m., on ESPN2; or 5 p.m., on Channel 7.

Quick hits

Receiver JuJu Smith returned to practice. The freshman was sidelined and left practice Sunday because of an eye issue…. Safety John Plattenburg, who was carted from the field Sunday, suffered a bruised thigh, Coach Steve Sarkisian said. Plattenburg attended practice but did not participate. "Those are tricky," Sarkisian said, adding, "It's really going to be day to day for him."

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