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USC RB MarShawn Lloyd Trending Toward Return vs. No. 6 Oregon

Lincoln Riley's offense looks like it will get a major weapon back when USC faces Oregon.
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USC running back MarShawn Lloyd is trending toward making a return to action when the Trojans travel north to take on the No. 6 Oregon Ducks on Saturday.

Head coach Lincoln Riley was asked for the latest on Lloyd's status during a press conference with local media on Thursday.

"Yeah, MarShawn's done well this week," Riley said. "We've been pleased with him. If we don't have any issues going forward, expect him to make the trip and hopefully be available."

Lloyd has been having a strong season for USC, rushing for 766 yards and 8 touchdowns on 99 carries in 9 games, but he missed the team's last game against Washington with an undisclosed injury.

Even without Lloyd in a 52-42 loss to the Huskies, USC's ground game didn't skip a beat, leaning heavily on redshirt senior Austin Jones for 127 of the team's 203 rushing yards. 

Heading into this week's game, Dan Lanning knows that Lloyd will be a key part of Oregon's defensive gameplan.

"He's a big, strong back. He can run. Catches the ball well out of the backfield," Lanning said of Lloyd earlier this week. The head coach has faced Lloyd before when both were in the SEC back in 2021--Lanning at Georgia and Lloyd at South Carolina. "Just in general, it's a big back. It's not the kind of guy you can just thud tackle. You gotta wrap up, it's going to take a lot of hats to the ball. He rarely goes down on first contact. So it's going to be a good challenge for us."

Quarterback Caleb Williams is leading the team in rushing touchdowns with 10, and Oregon's defense has been strong against the run in 2023, with opponents averaging 97.1 rushing yards per game.