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Matt Barkley

Sam Darnold's debut ranks among the best in recent USC history

Sam Darnold's debut ranks among the best in recent USC history

In the third quarter against Utah on Friday, on consecutive plays, Sam Darnold demonstrated why USC coaches couldn’t resist making him the starting quarterback despite being a freshman.

First, he threw a pass just above the linebackers and below the safeties, on a seam to tight end Taylor McNamara for 21 yards. He then hung a raindrop to JuJu Smith-Schuster along the sideline, hitting him in stride where only he could catch it, for 35 yards.

"You know how talented he is, but that's practice,” offensive coordinator Tee Martin said after the game. “How's he going to really play in a...

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