Austin Jones saw just three offensive snaps last week against Washington State. Since rushing for 110 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries against Fresno State on Sept. 17, Jones has seen his role diminish more and more each week.

Riley told reporters on Thursday that Jones’ lack of a role against the Cougars had more to do with Travis Dye’s excellence than anything else.

“It honestly became a little difficult to take (Dye) out,” Riley said. “We left that game saying we should have played Austin some.”

With the pass game a little off-kilter, USC leaned on Dye in the ground game. He carried the ball a season-high 28 times for a season-high 149 yards, finding the endzone for the fifth straight game. He also had three receptions.

The usage was Dye’s highest in a single game since a Nov. 6 game against Washington last year. It was also just the third time in his career Dye had topped 25 carries in a game. Which is to say don’t expect Dye to have too many more games where he gets 30-plus touches.

But Jones also has another back to worry about. Freshman Raleek Brown got two carries as he makes his way back to full health. Brown flashed brilliance earlier this season, and if he’s fully healthy it benefits USC to try and get him on the field.

Jones got five carries for 11 yards against Oregon State on Sept. 24. He got just two for 6 yards against Arizona State on Oct. 1. Riley will ride the hot hand. We’ll see if Jones can find some rhythm Saturday when the Trojans face No. 20 Utah in Salt Lake City.