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#pounditSunday, February 5, 2023

Lincoln Riley reveals extent of Caleb Williams’ Pac-12 title game injury

Nov 11, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) watches game action against the Colorado Buffaloes during the second half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

USC coach Lincoln Riley revealed just how hurt quarterback Caleb Williams had been during Friday’s Pac-12 title game.

Riley said after the game that Williams had “popped his hamstring” early in the 47-24 loss, but had refused to come out of the game when pressed. The coach admitted that Williams had not even been close to 50 percent for the bulk of the game.

“He popped his hamstring on the long run that was on a second or third drive of the game,” Riley said, via Brad Crawford of 247 Sports. “I asked him at one point, are you 50%? He was not even close to 50%. I definitely thought about taking him out. He wouldn’t have let me, and he didn’t let me. He wouldn’t even let me take him out at the end.”

Williams played the whole game despite the injury. His performance was markedly worse after the team’s first two drives, though he still wound up going 28/41 for 363 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception.

In addition to the hamstring issue, Williams was pretty beaten up in other ways. The fact that he managed to finish the game anyway is pretty remarkable, even in a losing effort.

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