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Riley refuses to rule out '22 title tilt

New USC coach Lincoln Riley refused to rule out a Pac-12 title in his first season, but said the Trojans must get back to running the football well in order to return to their former glories.

Riley made one of the most audacious coaching moves in college football history when he upped sticks from Big-12 behemoths Oklahoma and rode out west to take charge of a USC program who are without a Bowl win in six years and who are 28/1 to win the NCAAF Championship.

The former Sooners head coach lured former Oklahoma starting quarterback Caleb Williams out of the transfer portal to join him at University Park and several other top college prospects have followed in his footsteps.

USC's 13-man transfer class includes running backs Travis Dye and Austin Jones from Pac-12 North rivals Oregon and Stanford respectively.

Dye, who ran for 3,111 yards at 6.0 yards per attempt with 21 touchdowns across 48 games with the Ducks, is expected to be the feature back and possesses the ability to catch passes out of the backfield and work as a return specialist if needed.

Both are likely to be key weapons as Riley emphasises the run game going forward.

Running game key for Riley

"I believe you have to run the football to win championships, to be a championship football team," Riley told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times this week.

"It's something we've been pretty decent at in our past. I think it's something this school, when you look back at its championship seasons, a strong running game has been a part of that."

When asked if the Trojans would be ready to compete for a Pac-12 title in his first season, he replied: "For us, it's about just getting as good as we can right now. We understand that's a journey. But I will say this: I'm not going to take any goal off the table."

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