BOULDER, Co. — USC landed a gem out of the transfer portal this past January, when he decided to come to the program.
After all, Keaontay Ingram was Texas’ leading rusher in 2019 and scored 10 total touchdowns that season. The emergence of Bijan Robinson as the Longhorns’ No. 1 running back the following year played a role in Ingram’s decision to look elsewhere.
However, the Trojans embraced the Texas native with open arms. Now he’s starting to get in a groove on the gridiron after five games with the team. Ingram is riding a wave of momentum after rushing for a season-high, 124 yards in last Saturday’s win over Colorado. He averaged nearly nine yards per carry. Not to mention the former four-star prospect gashed the Buffaloes on a 53-yard run in the third quarter.
Ingram was pleased with his performance, but had to give credit to the big boys up front, who opened the gaping holes for him to run through.
“Oh man, the offensive line did a phenomenal job today, got the backs up to the second level” Ingram said. “We just got to be better at making the safeties miss and sometimes not making them miss, just run through them, get them on their toes a little bit.”
USC’s offense bounced back in a big way with the help of Ingram, Darwin Barlow and Vavae Malepeai. The unit was able to play balanced, scored a touchdown in every quarter and racked up a season-high, 494 total yards. The Trojans were never threatened on the road and led by as many as 23 points in the third quarter.
The running backs did their job out of the backfield. They also kept the pressure off quarterback Kedon Slovis and the Buffaloes’ defense was on their toes all afternoon. And that’s what impressed Ingram.
“I feel like we played complimentary football today,” he said. “When the run was there it was there, when the pass was there we were there.”
The six-foot, 215-pound Ingram has yet to have a game with over 15 carries, and has shared most of the workload with Barlow this fall. Still, Ingram believes he has workhorse capabilities. So if the opportunity comes for him to deliver in the clutch, he wants the ball in his hands to carry the Trojans to the finish line.
USC’s offense is heating up at the right time. And the unit will need to be on fire approaching the Trojans’ gauntlet over the next seven games. Notre Dame, BYU and Arizona State are all ranked, plus Utah and UCLA are divisional foes. Regardless of the matter, the Trojans are starting to play with confidence.
There’s plenty of football left to be played, but the Trojans are battle-tested, with enough veterans to keep everyone focused. Ingram felt USC (3-2) made a statement to the rest of the Pac-12 after its’ blowout road victory over Colorado, and the best is yet to come.
“Playing complimentary football showed in the points today, so I feel like we did a really good job.”