Trojans Cruise Past Ducks, 44-10
Oct. 4, 2008
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Just what Dr. Pete ordered.
Southern California roared back from its stunning loss and crushed No. 23 Oregon 44-10 Saturday night, manhandling what was considered the Beaver State's better Pac-10 team after being upset by Oregon State.
'This is exactly what we needed to do,' USC coach Pete Carroll said. 'This was exactly the game we were looking for to bounce back and get back on track.
'These guys came out and played like crazy. This was a big moment for us.'
The 'big moment' was keyed by quarterback Mark Sanchez, and by the Trojans' defense, which had been pushed around by the Beavers.
Sanchez threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns in the Trojans' 598-yard offensive avalanche, and their defense held the Ducks (4-2, 2-1), the Pac-10's best rushing team coming in, to 60 yards on the ground and 239 overall. Oregon had been averaging 308 on the ground alone.
'It was a good victory for us and I'm excited about the way this offense and defense bounced back and how special teams played,' Sanchez said.
USC safety Kevin Ellison, who was in on 12 tackles, explained: 'A lot of it was because of our performance last week. We definitely knew we had to get our assignments right and swarm the ball.'
The Ducks, playing with a third-string quarterback, never really had a chance.
'I guess they answered the wake-up call after Oregon State,' Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said.
Sanchez completed 19 of 28 and did not throw an interception. He completed passes to seven different receivers, with Joe McKnight catching five passes for 86 yards, and Patrick Turner grabbing five for 77 yards and a TD.
The Trojans also used a committee of five runners, led by C.J. Gable's 49 yards on 10 carries, and Stafon Johnson's 43 yards on seven carries.
Oregon's Jeremiah Masoli, pressed into duty by injuries, completed 18-of-29 for 156 yards, with one interception.
USC's run defense, which allowed Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers to rush for 186 yards and two scores the previous game, held the Ducks' tandem of Jeremiah Johnson and LaGarrette Blount to a combined 45 yards - all by Johnson. Blount totaled 0 yards on nine carries.
Johnson said the Trojans were a different team than they were against Oregon State.
'I can't believe they lost to them at all,' he said. 'I'm pretty sure they looked over Oregon State and they made sure they didn't look over us. We're tied right now with them (in the Pac-10), and next week we have to bounce back.'
Trailing 10-3 midway through the second quarter, USC reeled off 24 points before halftime, then tacked on another touchdown in the opening minutes of the third quarter.
Taking advantage of blown coverage by the Oregon secondary in the second quarter, Sanchez connected on scoring passes of 34 yards to a wide-open Damian Williams in the left flat and 63 yards to Ronald Johnson several steps beyond the final defenders.
David Buehler's second of three field goals, a 36-yarder 40 seconds before halftime, had put the Trojans up 20-10, and an Oregon turnover set up still another USC touchdown.
Josh Pinkard recovered Jaison William's fumble at the Ducks 20 and, with 22 seconds on the clock, Sanchez threaded an 11-yard scoring pass to Turner, who caught the ball at the goal line with a defender right on him.
Finishing off the Trojans' first possession of the third quarter, a hemmed-in Stafon Johnson stopped, changed direction, then got a good block from Sanchez on his way to a 22-yard touchdown.
The six-time defending Pac-10 champion Trojans haven't lost two games in a row since early in Carroll's first season in 2001. By throttling the Ducks, they also avenged last year's 24-17 loss in Eugene.
After the Ducks took the opening kickoff and marched to a touchdown, the Trojans put together a drive of their own. But with a first-and-goal from the 6, USC couldn't punch it in and had to settle for Buehler's 21-yard field goal.
Masoli had taken Oregon on a 70-yard touchdown march capped by Jeremiah Johnson's 1-yard run with for a quick 7-0 lead 5:19 into the contest. The drive originally stalled at the USC 27 and Matt Evensen kicked a field goal, but a roughing the kicker call gave the Ducks a first down at the 13.
The Trojans wrapped up the scoring with 1:26 remaining on Mitch Mustain's 59-yard TD pass to David Ausburry. Mustain, who moved into the backup role during the week, went 5-of-8 for 111 yards and threw one interception.