USC’s running back depth took a hit Wednesday when sophomore tailback D.J. Morgan announced on his Twitter account that he would be having knee surgery.
“Everyone pray for me please!” Morgan tweeted. “I’m going into a minor surgery today with my knee. I’ll be out for only 3-4 weeks!”
USC coach Lane Kiffin confirmed the injury following Wednesday’s practice but declined to provide any more information.
Morgan was moved down to third string following the transfer of junior Silas Redd from Penn State. Despite this, Morgan received the second-most carries in the Trojans’ 49-10 win over Hawai’i, rushing seven times for 25 yards.
His injury leaves the team with only three healthy scholarship backs in Redd, senior Curtis McNeal and redshirt freshman Javorious Allen. Redd’s transfer helped alleviate the loss of sophomore back Tre Madden after a season-ending knee injury in spring practice, and the former Nittany Lion seems likely to get more than the nine carries he received in his USC debut after Morgan’s injury.
“It just goes back to how important getting Silas was,” Kiffin said. “We’re happy to have him.”
In other injury-related news, it looks as if junior defensive end Morgan Breslin, who transferred this year from Diablo Valley Junior College, might start in the place of senior end Wes Horton, who has been battling injuries and missed the season opener. Horton’s status for the game is unknown.
After missing the first game, sophomore linebacker Lamar Dawson and junior cornerback Torin Harris say they expect to play this Saturday against Syracuse.
Dawson would likely replace redshirt freshman Anthony Sarao in the starting lineup, while Harris would replace redshirt sophomore Anthony Brown.
The Trojans’ opponent Saturday, Syracuse, lost 42-41 to Northwestern in its opener. Kiffin, however, was quick praise the Syracuse offense after Orange quarterback Ryan Nassib threw for 470 yards, the highest total in Division I last week, in the loss.
“We’re going to have our hands full,” Kiffin said.
Despite the final result, Kiffin placed no blame on Syracuse’s offense, instead attributing the defeat to penalties, special teams and turnovers.
When asked about whether the Trojan defense needs to step up its game this week, Kiffin was quick to respond.
“Yeah, we got to play big,” Kiffin said, “especially our secondary. Last week we weren’t tested very much, and we got to do better.”
Senior safety T.J. McDonald also mentioned that Nassib and the Syracuse shotgun offense will be a challenge.
“Give credit where credit is due,” McDonald said of Nassib. “We know the ball is going to be in the air. It gives us a chance to make plays on the ball, and hopefully we can make plays.”