Silas Redd

USC running back Silas Redd provides the Trojans with a level of experience and toughness that has proved to be a valuable asset for the offense. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times / October 10, 2013)

USC's plan was simple: Give the ball to Silas Redd.

Last Thursday against Arizona, the Trojans were backed up to their four-yard line with a seven-point lead and just over four minutes remaining.

Offensive coordinator Clay Helton was calling plays for the Trojans for the first time. But he never deviated. He called on Redd.

Seven consecutive times.

"That's a very seasoned vet who's been in that situation before," Helton said. "It was Silas' time."

Redd's final carry — a 10-yard gain on a third-and-eight play — enabled USC to run out the clock in the final minute. The Trojans won, 38-31, in Ed Orgeron's first game as interim coach.

"It just felt great that my team could trust me in that situation," Redd said.

Redd's final run provided an exclamation point to a night of power running by five USC tailbacks, an approach Orgeron said could continue Saturday against Notre Dame and beyond.

Redd, a senior making his season debut; sophomores Tre Madden and Javorius Allen, and freshmen Justin Davis and Ty Isaac helped the Trojans rush for 249 yards.

The running game also set up several play-action passes that produced long gains, including a 62-yard touchdown by receiver Nelson Agholor.

"We had pounded playing with physicality all week," Helton said. "Being able to run power plays and not caring how they lined up or how many people they had in the box.

"The offensive line, in that game, made it happen."

The Trojans are averaging 200.3 yards rushing per game. On Saturday, they will face a defense that is giving up 122.3 yards rushing a game, which ranks 23rd among 123 major-college teams.

Helton said he and running backs coach Tommie Robinson have confidence in every tailback.

Madden, who has rushed for a team-best 611 yards, suffered a hamstring injury against Arizona but is listed as probable for Saturday.

Davis has been dynamic throughout the season, Allen broke out with two touchdowns against Arizona and Isaac averaged 12 yards a carry Thursday.

But Redd provides the Trojans with experience and proven toughness.

His performance against Arizona was something of a milestone for a player who sat out the first five games while recovering from knee surgeries.

"I really think he's come back a better player," Orgeron said.

Last season, after transferring from Penn State to USC on the eve of training camp, Redd rushed for a team-best 905 yards.