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A Trojan wide receiver going for a touchdown against Colorado on October 8th at the Coliseum. Photo courtesy of newportbeachindy.com

 

USC TROJANS – 2016 BY THE NUMBERS AFTER SIX GAMES:

Record: 3-3, 2-2 and 4th place in the Pac-12 South

Team Leaders:

Sam Darnold, QB – 67.8% completions, 1,099 yards, 8 TD, 2 INT

Justin Davis, RB – 6.3 ypc, 50 long, 2 TDs

Ronald Jones II, RB – 4.5 ypc, 46 long,1 TD

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR – 31 rec, 67 long, 5 TDs

Darreus Rogers, WR – 23 rec, 46 long

Cameron Smith, LB – 49 tackles, 3 TFL

Porter Gustin, LB – 39 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2 sacks

Adoree Jackson, DB/KR/PR – 2 INT, 168 PR yds, 349 KR yds, 88 Total YPG

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Sam Darnold, USC’s starting quarterback through – at minimum – 2018. Photo courtesy of reignoftroy.com

 

A Few Thoughts:

This season began for these Trojans the moment Sam Darnold, a redshirt freshman who was barely beaten out of the starting quarterback job this past summer, took over for Max Browne after their loss to Stanford.

As Darnold made an immediate impact on USC’s offense, making plays and showing guts while doing so – check out the touchdown pass made against Colorado when he initially dropped the ball on the snap – along with showing the Trojan Family something that hasn’t been seen from a QB at that school since the days of Rodney Peete in the late 1980s: running ability,

 

Highlights of the Trojans’ most recent game, a 21-17 win over Colorado. Courtesy of YouTube

My two prevailing thoughts were these…

Here is the next star quarterback for those Trojans; he’ll be the man at ‘SC for the next three years.

I feel sorry for Max Browne. Unless Darnold gets hurt (God Forbid), being a 5th year senior his football career, for all intents and purposes, is over after USC’s last game; Browne should have transferred when he had the chance.

Darnold is the perfect guy to lead the Trojans through the rest of the schedule, which suddenly became chock full of very winnable games as the only contest that I see as a sure loss for them is Washington in Seattle on November 12th.

I don’t think anyone would have guessed that Oregon and rivals Notre Dame and UCLA would be struggling the way they are at this point in the season.

But those Ducks, Fighting Irish and Bruins (whose mid-season assessment will appear on this site on Thursday) are, and if that trend continues they will be quite ripe for the taking.

 

 

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JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Trojans’ all-everything wide receiver who (as always) is expected to be a HUGE factor in USC’s chances the second half of the season. Photo courtesy of reignoftroy.com

 

As for USC’s chances at the Pac-12 title and the Rose Bowl bid…

The way they’re performing, they have just as good a chance as anyone, and maybe a little better.

But they’ll need help from whoever plays Utah as the Utes, who beat the Trojans with a touchdown pass with 16 seconds left on September 23rd, need to lose twice for ‘SC to leapfrog them.

Realistically speaking, I don’t think that will happen.

But an 8-4 record with a bid to a decent bowl game is more than attainable.

Not bad for a team and a program written off as a contender after that 52-6 beat down at the hands of Alabama.

 

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Tight end Tyler Petite scoring one of his two touchdowns during USC’s most recent game. Photo courtesy of sfgate.com

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