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USC’s season has gotten off to a bad start. Coach Clay Helton hopes a turnaround starts with a new quarterback.

The first-year coach announced Monday night that redshirt freshman Sam Darnold will be the Trojans’ starter against Utah in Week 4. Darnold replaces redshirt junior Max Browne, another first-year starter who beat out Darnold in preseason practices.

Both players have seen the field through the first three games. Browne has completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 474 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions — but he’s averaged just 5.4 yards per attempt. Darnold has 136 yards through the air, two touchdowns and a pick.

USC’s offensive struggles haven’t completely been Browne’s fault, but the Trojans scored just one touchdown against Alabama and Stanford. Furthermore, the Trojans have not been an explosive offense. This is an offense that ranks among the worst teams in the Pac-12 in long passing plays of 10 yards or more.

Helton wants to see if Darnold can give USC a “spark.” While that leaves the door open for Browne to return to the field, the veteran doesn’t sound optimistic about it.


Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Struggling USC seeks offensive spark, promotes redshirt freshman QB