Freshman running back Stephen Carr makes first start for USC – Orange County Register

BERKELEY — Freshman running back Stephen Carr learned on Friday he would make his first college start in USC’s 30-20 victory over Cal.

Ronald Jones did not travel with the team to the Bay Area, remaining in Los Angeles with injuries, including a thigh contusion and a sprained ankle.

Carr was ready for his chance.

“I love the pressure, man,” Carr said. “Pressure makes diamonds.”

Prior to kickoff on Saturday morning, he sent Jones a text message.

“I told him I’d hunker down for him,” Carr said.

He did. Carr, a product of Summit High in Fontana, was USC’s most effective threat on offense amid a bumpy performance for the group. He finished with 129 total yards with 82 yards on 20 carries and six receptions for 47 yards.

“He’s a total back,” offensive coordinator Tee Martin said. “He can run inside, he can run outside, he can catch it.”

Martin added that Carr was also adept in pass protection, noting he  “did not have one mental assignment bust.”

Through four games this season, Carr has rushed for 298 yards.

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Quarterback Sam Darnold threw his seventh interception in four games when his pass to Deontay Burnett, who was running along the left hashmarks, in the second quarter was intercepted by cornerback Josh Drayden.

By comparison, Darnold threw nine interceptions in 13 games last season, including 10 as the starter.

“I think it’s 100 percent my fault first of all,” Darnold said, “just not getting the ball far enough on a deep route, or whether it’s balls being tipped, not seeing a d-linemen and him getting a big paw on it to tip it in the air. So I’m just going to continue to play. That’s all I can do.”

FOURTH-DOWN WOES

The Trojans were stopped twice on fourth down.

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