Since USC made an early season quarterback switch to redshirt freshman Sam Darnold, the offense has morphed into a well-oiled machine that is capable of putting points up against anyone, including the stingy defense of a top five Washington team.
Darnold completed 69.7 percent of his pass attempts (23-for-33) in a 26-13 win over the Huskies. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound San Clemente (Calif.) product threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns, including going 11-for-12 for 199 yards on passes more than 10 yards down the field, earning him the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week award for the first time in his career.
The USC offense averaged 5.8 yards per play as it gained 400 total yards against a defense that had been allowing just 17.0 points per game.
Darnold was intercepted on the Trojans' first drive of the game, but settled in after to help lead USC to the upset victory. On the second drive, Darnold drove the Trojans down to set up a Matt Boermeester field goal to tie the game, 3-3.
After an Adoree' Jackson interception, Darnold picked up a first down with his legs, running for nine of his 15 rushing yards, hit Darreus Rogers for a third down conversion and hit Daniel Imatorbhebhe in the seam for a 23-yard gain. That set up a 13-yard touchdown pass to Rogers where Darnold bought time and stayed calm in the pocket before firing a bullet to the back of the end zone.
He later pushed the Trojans ahead 24-13 with an 8-yard touchdown pass, this time finding Imatorbhebhe in the back of the end zone.
On the season, Darnold has thrown for 2,161 yards and 22 touchdowns -- a USC freshman record -- on 169-of-248 passing (68.1 percent). He currently ranks as the nation's top freshman quarterback in passing efficiency, completion percentage, passing yards per attempt and touchdown passes.
Utah defensive end Hunter Dimick was named Defensive Player of the Week after a five-sack performance against Arizona State while Washington State's Kaleb Fossum earned the Special Teams Player of the Week award for a 75-yard punt return for touchdown. Other players nominated for Offensive Player of the Week include receivers Shay Fields (Colorado), Jordan Lasley (UCLA), Raelon Singlton (Utah), Gabe Marks (Washington State) and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.
This was USC's second Pac-12 honor this season after Adoree' Jackson won the Special Teams Player of the Week award on Sept. 12. The Trojans will head to Pasadena this weekend to take on rival UCLA in the Crosstown Showdown. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
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