USC promotes QB Sam Darnold to starter over Max Browne

Toby Graves
Сентября 30, 2016

"We've got good depth right now", Helton said.

Darnold is more of a dual-threat quarterback than redshirt junior Max Browne, who opened the year as the starter. In three games, he completed 55 of 87 passes for 474 yards, with two touchdown passes and two interceptions. The Trojans are in their worst scoring drought against Power 5 opposition since being held to two offensive touchdowns in losses to California and Arizona State in 1999.

Browne, who is in his fourth year with the program, was named the starter two weeks before the season started after a lengthy competition with Darnold.

After playing well at times during his limited appearances so far this season, Darnold has earned himself at least a shot. Since taking over as coach in the wake of the Steve Sarkisian fiasco, the Trojans have a 1-4 record under Helton. But the offense has definitely underperformed, and Browne has not developed much of a rhythm with his receivers.

"I wanted to see a spark in our offense", Helton said, "and I think Sam provides that". The program announced the quarterback change on September 19. USC won last year's matchup against Utah, 42-24, but the two would go on to split the Pac-12 South crown.

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The unrest around USC football in 2016 shows no signs of slowing, as news of an impending departure rocked the team following a 27-10 loss to No. 7 Stanford. Given how terrible the Big 12's start has been, the best of the west should not be the odd team out again this year, especially if there's one other two-loss conference victor.

Tellingly, 22 passes in three games are more than Browne threw in his first two seasons.

Three weeks into his first full season as USC's coach, Clay Helton is juggling some problems.

For the sake of winning the South Division now, the move might not be worth it.

Only no one could foresee how this would play out with an Internet rumor going viral to the point that Deadspin even did a serious story on it how Price had punched Clay at the Stanford game.

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