Sam Darnold Is Cold-Blooded

Unbelievable Rose Bowl game last night and a tremendous win for USC.

As I tweeted last night, it looked as if the Trojans went from laying a beatdown on Penn State to getting blown out.

They started quickly, taking a 13-0 only to see Penn State score 7 straight touchdowns.

Not to go all thoroughbred racing on you, but SC was that horse that set crazy early fractions only to have a closer come running late, inhaling huge chunks of real estate and blow right by the early leader. I’ve been on the wrong side of that beat many times. And it always feels like hell. And that’s what it looked like for USC last night.

But watching phenom Sam Darnold for USC this year, I should have known better. Because as I tweeted last night, this is the most cold-blooded freshman I’ve ever seen. Ever.

Look, we knew this guy was good. Even knew he had that kind of night in him; more than 450 yards passing and 5 t.d.’s. I could even see him doing it as a freshman; against Oregon State, or Arizona or Arizona State. But I sure as hell never saw him doing it on the biggest of stages, as a freshman. Didn’t see him going 80 yards late in the game, with no timeouts, to tie it. Sure, two P.I. calls on that drive helped, but watching this kid operate, as cool as he is, there’s no reason to believe he wasn’t going to get it done with or without that help. And he did it after losing their best playmaker, Adoree Jackson.

This dude is incredible. Hyperbole aside, I’ve never seen a freshman q.b. that calm, that poised, and that mature. Jay Wright’s reaction to winning the national championship can’t believe how calm Darnold was after doing what he did last night. Watching that flat liner, I’m not even sure he knows what he did last night.

I know this. He is different. He’s an outlier. Was a great basketball player in high school and is a tremendous athlete. And folks around him rave about what a tremendous kid and teammate he is. Those close to him knew what he was capable of; now the rest of the country does too.

And no Penn State fan, no one wants to hear about how you got jammed. Jammed by the committee. And jammed by the officials last night. Your team played a helluva game. You played well enough to win. You just didn’t. And no one ripped anything from you. Keep moving.

And also, you got burned doing what you do best. Taking shots down field is one of the biggest reasons you were even in that game. But it’s a big reason why you lost it too. Trace McSorley went looking for the home run ball, only to get picked and have SC kick the game winning field goal.

McSorley was unbelievable; he gets better every time he steps on the field, but you know he’d like to have that one back. But no, you didn’t get jammed by the committee or the refs. You got beat by a better team.

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