Sam Darnold’s draft stock just took a huge hit from the Washington State Cougars. The USC quarterback had a chance to be the hero on Friday night (Sept. 29), but instead, he fumbled the game away on national television. It was a game that he would love to forget and one that Darnold needs NFL scouts to gloss over when they are considering selecting him in the NFL Draft next spring.

It was a rough night all around for Sam Darnold, who completed just 15-of-29 passes for 164 yards and no touchdowns. Darnold also had a costly interception on the night, raising his turnover total in the game to two.

The only saving grace from the 30-27 loss is that it came against another undefeated team in the Pac-12 Conference, likely making Darnold and USC fans now supporters of WSU for the rest of the college football regular season.

Darnold’s updated 2017 stats

During the 2017 college football season, Sam Darnold has completed 113-of-175 passes (64.6 percent) for 1,389 yards and nine touchdowns. Those numbers aren’t too bad, but he also has eight interceptions, several of which have placed the USC Trojans in very difficult spots. There was another pass in the red zone on Friday night that should have been intercepted, so his numbers could have been even worse.

Darnold moved up boards for the 2018 Nfl Draft by posting impressive numbers for the 2016 college football season.

He completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,086 yards and 31 touchdowns. Darnold had a quarterback rating of 161.1 and only had nine interceptions for the entire season. Those numbers and his big frame had NFL scouts buzzing about him and some of the early 2018 NFL mock drafts placing him as the No. 1 overall selection.

Can Darnold rebound from ugly performance against WSU?

There were 22 scouts in attendance at the USC vs. WSU game, including several NFL general managers. They weren’t all there to just see Sam Darnold, though, as Luke Falk of the Washington State Cougars has been generating his own buzz. Falk was the big winner on this night, but there is still a lot of time left in the regular season for Darnold to make some of these scouts forget about what they saw on Sept.


Another mark against Darnold is that USC was supposed to win this game. The football experts predicted that USC would win the road game and move to 5-0 on the season. A lot of voters in the college football polls may have gone to bed early and missed what took place Friday night, so viewing the upset in the sports pages on Saturday morning (Sept. 30) could also cost USC in the polls.

Bad placement in the college football rankings can be overcome, but it is going to lead to worse bowl projections for the USC Trojans and possibly put Sam Darnold in a worse situation for showcasing his talent before the 2018 NFL Draft.