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Utahn Jaxson Dart sets USC Trojans record in debut

Southern California quarterback Jaxson Dart throws a pass against Washington State, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.
Southern California quarterback Jaxson Dart throws a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.
Young Kwak, Associated Press

Jaxson Dart was thrown into the fire for the USC Trojans on Saturday, but all the Utah native did was come out of it with a new school record.

The freshman out of Corner Canyon High was sensational in relief of Trojans starting quarterback Kedon Slovis in his first-ever game action, setting a new USC mark for most passing yards in a debut with 391.

He also threw for four touchdowns and added 32 rushing yards on six carries in leading his team past the Washington State Cougars 45-14 on the road.

Dart, the Gatorade National Player of the Year last season, was named the Trojans’ backup quarterback before the season started and was called upon Saturday when Slovis left with an injury in the first quarter and did not return.

Dart committed three turnovers — two interceptions and a fumble — but was otherwise excellent, completing 30 of 46 pass attempts.

At halftime, Dart was 12 of 18 for 156 yards with a touchdown and an interception as USC trailed 14-7 in its first game under interim head coach Donte Williams after Clay Helton was fired early in the week.

In the third quarter, though, Dart was great as the Trojans outscored the Cougars 28-0. Three of the four touchdowns were produced by the offense. Dart tacked on one more passing touchdown in the fourth quarter as USC sealed the deal.

Throughout the game and then after it, Dart’s performance became a big national storyline.