USC vs. Texas Report Card 2017: Grading the Trojan offense and defense

Sep 18, 2017, 11:00 PM PDT
Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty Images
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Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty Images

USC vs. Texas came to a thrilling conclusion on Saturday night, but how did each Trojan unit grade out during the 27-24 win?

After a week of hype surrounding USC vs. Texas as a rematch of the heart-stopping 2006 national championship game, the Trojans and Longhorns delivered more late game drama at the Coliseum on Saturday night.

Suffice to say, Chase McGrath and the Trojan kicking game came out of the 27-24 contest with an A thanks to the game-tying and game-winning kick in the final seconds of regulation and overtime.

Here’s how the rest of USC’s units graded out against Texas:

A. . Noteworthy. Sam Darnold. QUARTERBACK

On another night, Sam Darnold’s overall performance against Texas might have earned him a lower grade.

The Trojan quarterback’s 57.1 percent completion rating was the lowest of his career as a starter. He missed open receivers, including on critical attempts to contribute to USC’s 6-of-18 mark on third downs. He bailed clean pockets early and threw short of the sticks multiple times. His egregious overthrow of a wide open Tyler Petite resulted in an interception in the fourth quarter. For just the third time in 13 starts his passer rating was below 140.

All that said, that familiar Darnold magic was on display when USC needed him most. Facing a three-point deficit with just 39 seconds remaining, the redshirt sophomore did what he does best. He made plays, deftly avoiding the pass rush and hitting Deontay Burnett, Stephen Carr and Steven Mitchell to bring USC into field goal range. His jump pass to Carr stands out as one of the most impressive plays in his career.

In overtime, Darnold ended any doubts about USC’s ability to find the endzone by tossing a perfect strike to Burnett on the first play of the period.