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USC’s Ronald Jones is hoping for a warmer time at Oregon

Trojans running back Ronald Jones II picks up yards against the Buffaloes in the first half on Nov. 13.

Trojans running back Ronald Jones II picks up yards against the Buffaloes in the first half on Nov. 13.

(Justin Edmonds / Getty Images)

Ronald Jones II felt the cold and the altitude when USC played at Colorado last week.

The sophomore tailback, who gained a freshman record 177 yards the week before against Arizona, carried the ball 19 times for 61 yards. It was the Texas native’s fewest since the Trojans’ fourth game.

“I think I let the situation get to me a little bit, which is something I can’t do at this level,” he said Wednesday. “I can’t make excuses. I could have performed better overall.”

Jones intends to get back on track Saturday when USC plays Oregon at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.

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Jones has rushed for a team-best 771 yards and is averaging 7.1 yards per carry.

Senior Tre Madden is still sidelined because of a knee injury, so Jones and junior Justin Davis will share carries against Oregon, which also is riding a four-game winning streak.

Oregon is giving up 173.6 yards rushing per game.

The temperature for the evening kickoff in Colorado was 41 degrees, and it got colder as the game progressed.

Kickoff at Oregon is 12:30 p.m., with temperatures forecast for the low 50s.

“Hopefully, it’s not too cold again,” Jones said.

Ready for an opportunity

Sophomore Olajuwon Tucker could see significant playing time in place of injured linebackers Cameron Smith and Lamar Dawson.

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Tucker had not played in the previous five games before he was thrust into action against Colorado. He made a career-best four tackles.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” he said. “I’m going from a little play time to a lot of play time. It’s huge for me to get the opportunity to show what I’m capable of doing and make my plays.”

Sophomore Uchenna Nwosu, juniors Michael Hutchings and Jabari Ruffin, and freshman Osa Masina also could play as inside linebackers against Oregon.

Quick hits

Interim Coach Clay Helton said Madden (knee) and safety Leon McQuay III (knee) would make the trip to Oregon, but Madden will not play and McQuay will probably sit out. Both are hoping to return for the game against UCLA on Nov. 28. Offensive lineman Viane Talamaivao (knee) will be evaluated at the end of the week, but Chris Brown remains on track to start at right guard.


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