USC’s defense expects to welcome back injured starters against Colorado
By Joey Kaufman
LOS ANGELES — USC safety Chris Hawkins knew the numbers.
Phillip Lindsay, Colorado’s running back, has surpassed 1,300 yards rushing through the first 10 games of this season.
Among Pac-12 running backs, only Stanford’s Bryce Love has totaled more than Lindsay, who has run for exactly 1,334 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Buffaloes.
That is to say Lindsay might put pressure on the Trojans’ defense, when the teams meet Saturday in Boulder, Colo.
USC might also welcome back a pair of banged-up starters.
Christian Rector is considered to be a game-time decision after he missed two games following surgery for a broken hand. Rector continued to practice Thursday.
“He wants to go,” USC coach Clay Helton said afterward.
Team doctors, Helton said, have cleared Rector to play against Colorado, with his availability for the Pac-12 South matchup largely related to his pain tolerance. Helton said Thursday Rector was pain-free, but a final determination would be made during warm-ups on Saturday.
It remains likely the redshirt sophomore would wear a heavily wrapped club on his hand as a preventive measure if he plays.
“Structurally, he’s great,” Helton said. “It’ll just be protecting fingers.”
In eight games, Rector has recorded 6.5 sacks, the second most in the conference behind teammate Rasheem Green, who has seven.
Rector took over as the starter at the “predator” linebacker position, a hybrid outside linebacker role that also lines up as a pass rusher, in late September after Porter Gustin was sidelined with toe and biceps injuries.
Outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu, who has been held out of practice this week because of an ankle injury, is also expected to play against the Buffaloes.
Along with Rector, cornerback Iman Marshall might return after missing a pair of games.
Marshall has been out since a loss to Notre Dame on Oct. 21 because of a knee sprain.
Isaiah Langley has started in place […]