Sam Darnold's Heisman candidacy is officially over


If Darnold's candidacy for college football's top award wasn't already over entering Friday, it certainly is now.

Coming into Friday, 16th-ranked Wazzu (5-0) had never had a marquee win since Leach took over the program before the 2012 season. While this game doesn't do anything for Darnold's Heisman candidacy - he was 15-29 passing and threw his eighth interception of the season - it's far from a backbreaker for USC's Pac-12 hopes. Luke Falk has thrown for 1,378 yards with 14 touchdowns and just one interception this season.

Cougars tailback Jamal Morrow rushed for 91 yards on just six carries, including a 30-yard scamper on the winning drive. After that Jones TD, Uchenna Nwosu came up with a spectacular interception inside the 10-yard line, but USC settled for a field goal afterward. Falk made the first strong impression of his career against the Trojans three years ago when he replaced Connor Halliday, the nation's passing yardage leader at the time who suffered a season-ending broken leg in the first quarter, and completed 38-of-57 passes for 346 and two touchdowns in the 44-17 loss. Darnold did manage to rush for 25 yards and two touchdowns, but being down three starters on the offensive line proved to be too much for him and his teammates to overcome.

The Cougars took the lead late in the 4th quarter, thanks to a 32-yard field goal by Erik Powell.

Darnold, on the other hand, was harassed all night by an aggressive Washington State defense, fumbling away USC's chance at yet another dramatic comeback by failing to protect the ball when hit by blitzing linebacker Jahad Wood with just 1:26 remaining in the game.

The answer to both questions is yes, but it all became much, much more hard after another underachieving performance on Friday finally caught up with the No. 5 Trojans, who lost to No. 16 Washington State 30-27.

For USC, running the table was always going to be hard against a brutal schedule that already included wins over Stanford, Texas and an improved Cal. Injuries complicated matters, along with Darnold's uneven play.

The Trojans, meanwhile, will attempt to bounce back at home against Oregon State on October 7.

Mike Leach, at the center of it all. The No. 12 Cougars should move into the top 10 after Friday night's big win. On offense, Washington State is putting up 43.8 points and 504.3 yards per game.

Two of the premiere quarterbacks in the country are trying to lead their team to victory in one of the best Pac-12 matchups of the year.