Darnold's debut Redshirt freshman QB Sam Darnold's starting debut was the silver lining in USC's loss to Utah.

Redshirt freshman QB Sam Darnold made the first start of his USC career on Friday against Utah.

Darnold completed 18 of 26 passes for 253 yards, and connected with six different receivers in USC's 31-27 loss at a sold-out, rainy Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Darnold became the ninth freshman and sixth redshirt freshman to start at QB for the Trojans since 1984.

USC Redshirt Freshman Starting QBs Since 1984:

  • Max Wittek (2 games in 2012)
  • Mike Van Raaphorst (2 games in 1997)
  • Todd Marinovich (12 games in 1989)
  • Rodney Peete (5 games in 1985)
  • Kevin McLean (1 game in 1984)

USC True Freshman Starting QBs Since 1984:

  • Matt Barkley (12 games in 2009)
  • Carson Palmer (5 games in 1998)
  • Rob Johnson (1 game in 1991)

In addition to 253 pass yards, Darnold added 41 yards and a TD on the ground.

His 41 rush yards were the most by a USC QB since 2004.

USC Heisman winner and National Champion Matt Leinart chimed in to praise Darnold's performance.
ESPN Analyst Todd McShay was similarly impressed.
“You walk into a hostile atmosphere like this, on a rainy night, and you go out there and do what he did … I thought for a guy making his first start, [it was] as good as you could hope for.” - USC head coach Clay Helton

Watch Darnold's highlights against Utah here:

Darnold is now 32-of-48 (66.7 pct) for 389 yards this season, with 2 pass TD and 1 rush TD.

Next up for the Trojans is a home tilt against ASU on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 5:30pm PT.

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