LOS ANGELES (AP) — The quarterback competition in Southern California may be over before it even begins.
Jackson Dart missed practice Tuesday after freshman injured his knee in the Trojans’ 45-14 win at Washington State, while three-year-old starter Kaydon Slovis was ruled out of the game by a neck injury to the first team. representative of
Interim coach Donnett Williams would not discuss the position of the dart, who came off the bench to throw 391 yards and four touchdowns. This includes whether the DART needs an MRI or other tests.
“Shoot, I hope he’s here tomorrow, so we’ll see. I know he wasn’t here today,” Williams said.
Williams had hinted that Dart’s debut would be followed by an open contest in which he rallied USC to victory in his first game since Clay Helton was fired as coach last Monday. Dart was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after passing 30 of 46, though he was intercepted twice, and running for a team-high 32 yards.
Williams said the dart will need to practice this week to get a chance to start for USC (2-1, 1-1 Pac-12) against Oregon State on Saturday.
“Then if he isn’t able to practice all week, the decision is made,” Williams said.
Slovis, a junior, was injured on the opening drive against the Cougars and did not return.
Dart got injured in the second quarter but remained in the game. The Kaysville, Utah, native played the second half with a heavy sleeve on his right knee and was a noticeable limp at times.
Dart’s strong performance raised the possibility that Slovis could be benched for the first time due to poor play. He has started all but one game since taking office, when JT Daniels sustained a knee injury in the 2019 season opener, missing the game after missing the game in Washington that year.
The offense was sluggish in USC’s first two games this season, managing 23 points in a win over San Jose State to mark the final game of Helton’s roller-coaster tenure before losing 42–28 to Stanford. Slovis directed two late touchdown drives against the Cardinals after the result was decided.
Slovis has thrown for 487 yards and three touchdowns with one interception, completing 65% of his passes in three games this season, but he has struggled to connect with receivers other than standout junior Drake London.
Slovis’ uneven play, coupled with impressive performance from Dart’s bench, left fans wondering whether Williams could keep up with the youngster for his first home game in charge against the Beavers (2-1).
Slovis downplayed the notion of possible change, praising what Dart did in relief.
“I’m not ready to focus that much on that,” Slovis said. “I’m excited for him, he’s had a great game, and honestly that’s what we expect. He’s a great player, a great quarterback. He showed that all fall camp, and I’m excited for him and he’s our What have you done for the team?
“How I approach the rest of this week, I’m trying to prepare myself to play for Saturday and trying to help my teammates as much as possible,” Slovis said.
With Dart out, Slovis and freshman Miller left Moss as the only scholarship quarterback available for practice.
But Williams, who has proved more elusive than his predecessor Helton, when it comes to disclosing injuries, was unclear how USC would handle the situation.
“It’s something we have to figure out,” Williams said. “Maybe we’ll play Wildcat, so we’ll take it day after day.”
Notes: London took part in practice but did not participate after suffering a head injury against Washington State.
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