Josh Rosen vs. Sam Darnold: Who is the better quarterback?


UCLA Football’s Josh Rosen and USC’s Sam Darnold are two of the best quarterbacks in the country, but who is better when it’s all said and done?

Let me preface this article by stating that the UCLA Football team is not as good as USC. It is just a fact. But that is not what this article is about.

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This article is here to compare two very good quarterbacks who are bringing a lot of attention to UCLA and USC.

Both Rosen and Darnold are very good football players, but I have stated many times, they are two different types of football players. Rosen is a very smart, methodical quarterback. Darnold is more of a physical quarterback that is reactionary.

Either way, both players and their styles have helped bring success to their offenses. But if we take a look at the stats, we will see a slight difference in production.

Tale of the Tape: Josh Rosen vs. Sam Darnold

PlayerYardsTouchdownsInterceptionsQBRCompletion %
Josh Rosen 1,763164161.065.5
Sam Darnold 1,22597148.467.1

It is not surprising what Darnold and his offense is doing. As reigning Rose Bowl Champions, the Trojans were expected to have a good, balanced offense, which they do, but it seems that Darnold has not lived up to the hype on an individual basis.

I’m not saying he isn’t elite (that final drive in regulation of the Texas game is proof of that), but it seems as though he is not reaching his potential, especially with compared to what he did last season.

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Rosen on the other hand is coming from a different direction. His Bruins could barely move the ball last season and had several issues with dropped balls. That is no longer a concern as Rosen and his receivers are on the same page.

Because of where Rosen and UCLA are coming from, the Bruin QB’s results this season are a bit more impressive. Call it a bias if you want but Rosen is looking a little better four games in to the season.


When you look at the individual stats, Rosen is miles ahead of Darnold in yards, touchdowns, not allowing interceptions and QB rating. The only thing Darnold has an advantage in is completion percentage. The TD-INT ratio is also telling as Rosen has thrown 12 more TDs than INTs compared to Darnold who has thrown two more touchdowns than interceptions.

We can also project that both QBs succeed in different situations. Under pressure, Darnold is better at getting the ball to his receivers, but also takes a lot of risks which has not benefitted him as he has thrown 5 INTs to Rosen’s 3. But then look at both QB’s results when throwing downfield… Rosen is doing a lot more than Darnold is past 15 yards.

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One can say Rosen is doing more with less, but looking at the numbers, Rosen is just doing a lot more than his crosstown counterpart. As stated above, USC is the better team, burn as it stands, Rosen appears to be the better quarterback. Numbers don’t lie.