What can USC do for an encore?
The Trojans won nine football games in a row last season after starting 1-3.
The finale was Troy’s dramatic victory over Penn State in the Rose Bowl.
Now it is time to see if USC can live up to the great expectations that come with winning nine straight, a streak that lives.
The Trojans are ranked as high as No. 2 in some preseason polls.
And they are strongly favored to win the Pac-12.
As usual USC has star power, beginning with quarterback Sam Darnold. The 6-4 220 pound redshirt sophomore is coming off one of the most spectacular seasons in USC history.
During the 52-49 win over Penn State Darnold showed the nation how special he is.
Some of the plays he executed looked more like video games. He threw five touchdown passes for 453 yards — three yards shy of the Rose Bowl record.
He set a Rose Bowl record, throwing and running for 473 yards of total offense.
If Darnold wants to lead the Trojans to the Promised Land, however, he may have to curtail his running when a play breaks down.
“I am still going to play my game but at the same time I need to play smart,” Darnold said about his exuberant running.
Coach Clay Helton said of his quarterback:
“It really helps our team to know who your leader is. What impresses me about Sam is his humility.”
Helton said he welcomes the pressure of coaching at Troy.
“We understand what USC is all about,” he said. “It’s about winning the Pac-12 championship and winning national championships. That always is our goal.”
Even the pre-season “is an exciting time for us. We know what the expectations are at USC.”
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