USC QB JT Daniels out for season with torn ACL, meniscus

USC will be without quarterback JT Daniels for the rest of the season.

Trojans head coach Clay Helton announced Sunday evening that Daniels tore the ACL and meniscus in his right knee during Saturday’s win over Fresno State.

Daniels, a sophomore, was hurt late in the first half when Fresno State sent a blitz on a third-down play. As Daniels was brought down, his leg was pinned underneath awkwardly and he immediately grabbed his knee. Daniels needed help to get off the field and was later carted into the locker room. He came out for the second half on crutches and wearing street clothes.

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USC quarterback JT Daniels is carted off the field after being injured during the first half against Fresno State. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
USC quarterback JT Daniels is carted off the field after being injured during the first half against Fresno State. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Kedon Slovis takes over as starter

Kedon Slovis, a true freshman, replaced Daniels in the second half and helped the Trojans pull out a 31-23 victory. Before the injury, Daniels completed 25-of-34 passes for 214 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Slovis went 6-of-8 for 57 yards and an interception in his college debut. A three-star recruit from Arizona, Slovis beat out last year’s backups Matt Fink and Jack Sears for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart. Sears announced on Tuesday that he would put his name into the transfer portal.

Saturday night’s game was USC’s first with new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell calling plays, and now the offense will move forward with Slovis as the starter.

Brutal news for Clay Helton

USC went 5-7 in 2018, marking the program’s first season with a losing record since 2000. Many expected it to cost Helton his job, but Trojans athletic director Lynn Swann surprisingly brought him back while saying that changes needed to be made.

The first move Helton made was bringing in fired Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury as his offensive coordinator, but that changed when Kingsbury surprisingly got the Arizona Cardinals job. From there, Helton brought in Harrell to run the Air Raid — an offense that seemed like a really nice fit for a talent like Daniels.

Instead, it will be an unheralded freshman in Slovis running the show with a brutal schedule in the coming weeks.

Next week, the Trojans host No. 25 Stanford before traveling to BYU, hosting No. 14 Utah and then going on the road to face No. 13 Washington and No. 9 Notre Dame. That could prove to be too steep a hill to climb for Helton’s program.

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