The news everybody feared in Los Angeles has reportedly happened.
According to a report from Sports Illustrated-affiliated website Trojan Maven, the results of an MRI taken on Sunday show that USC quarterback J.T. Daniels suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in his right leg during the Trojans’ narrow win over Fresno State on Saturday night.
The sophomore suffered the injury just before halftime of the game on a sack and required him to be carted off the field. Daniels was 25 of 34 for 215 yards with a touchdown and an interception at the time, looking fairly good in USC’s new Air Raid offense.
The news, which seemed apparent at the time and ends the signal-caller’s season, is a devastating blow to the cardinal and gold as they look to regroup from last year’s 5-7 campaign. True freshman Kedon Slovis looks like the starter going forward after surprisingly winning the backup job out of fall camp. While the youngster did throw an interception, he did show some flashes in throwing for 57 yards against the Bulldogs but obviously has none of the experience Daniels does after the latter QB started himself as a true freshman last season.
Outside of the Daniels family, nobody is likely to take the news harder than head coach Clay Helton. His future in L.A. was largely tied to getting the team back into Pac-12 and national contention and the Trojans didn’t look anywhere close to that in the second half of a game they nearly blew against the defending Mountain West champs.
USC’s schedule does them no favor either. They will take on Stanford in a Week 2 conference opener then travel to BYU before returning home to play Pac-12 favorite Utah on a short week. Trips to Washington and Notre Dame follow that so the Trojans schedule could make or break them and their head coach all before mid-October.
While the first week of the season is generally a time for optimism, that doesn’t seem to be the case around USC given this disappointing bit of news about their quarterback.