Final thoughts - Stanford review

That was exactly what the Trojans needed. A solid victory that featured good energy and execution in all areas as USC defeated Stanford 42-0 on Saturday.

The final score doesn't really matter. The fact that Stanford is a depleted football team isn't that important. No, the biggest thing to come from this game is the fact that the Trojans came out and took care of business by playing with a sense of urgency on offense, a defense that flew to the ball and special teams that made some critical plays. The Trojans also had no turnovers and were four for four on red zone scoring chances, a huge in achieving the shutout win.

On offense, the team was led by QB John David Booty (3 TD's and 0 picks), RB Chauncey Washington (run game set tone for early Trojan drives) and WR Dwayne Jarrett (several big plays including long TD catch). Even though Booty missed Jarrett on a potential scoring throw, a play he will admit he should make, John David still threw for 177 yards in the first half to help put the game away for USC. On defense, CB Terrell Thomas had the biggest impact with an interception, a key sack and the recovery of a blocked kick that he returned for a touchdown.

Yes, Stanford is down. A combination of injuries and malaise have reduced them to as bad of a Pac-10 team as we've faced in a while. So how much value can the Trojans place in a victory over a program that is in such disarray? Quite a bit. This Trojan team needed this game. It didn't matter who the opponent was, the Trojans needed to come out and remind themselves that they are capable of playing this kind of football. There is a certain confidence to be gained from a game like this, as one commentator said "sometimes it just feels good to kick someone's butt".

Pete Carroll was proud of the way his team beat a team they were supposed to beat. His called it respectful to prepare the same way you would for any other game, no matter how down they are. If that's the case, the Trojans showed Stanford a lot of respect in this game.

The Trojans started the game running the ball, eight of the first 11 plays were runs, and it was a Chauncey Washington run on a 4th down that resulted in a 16 yard touchdown to open the scoring. Chauncey followed blocks by Drew Radovich and Chilo Rachal to burst into the end zone and the early 7-0 lead. Booty hit a couple passes to show that he was sharp from the start and one of his best throws dropped down to Jarrett in the end zone for a 14-0 USC lead.

The special teams then contributed a big play as Keith Rivers and Clay Matthews combined for a huge hit on kickoff coverage to force a fumble that was recovered by Shareece Wright. On the following play, Booty hit Steve Smith with a short TD pass to the route was on.

The defense, sensing that it was going to be a big play night, started to get in on the action. Terrell Thomas had an interception. Rey Maualuga had a crushing hit on T.C. Ostrander. Clay Matthews and Fili Moala paired up for a TFL.

After a Stanford punt pinned USC on their own two in the second quarter, Booty simply marched the offense on a 98 yard drive that featured a screen pass to Emmanuel Moody who followed a downfield block by Rachal before being knocked out inside the five. Booty then rolled right and hit Fred Davis for the touchdown and 28-0 lead.

The half ended with a Kevin Ellison interception in the end zone and Ellison played a fine overall game. The second half did not go as smoothly for the Trojan offense. It began when USC was scheduled to receive the kickoff but an onside kick was recovered by the Cardinal. Dallas Sartz almost had a wonderful interception return for a touchdown but the play was called back due to holding....on Dallas Sartz.

The next three Trojan offensive drives of the half went three plays, five plays and three plays. In fact, the next USC score came from special teams as Stanford tried a field goal at the end of the third quarter which was blocked by Sed Ellis and returned for a touchdown by Terrell Thomas (nice downfield block by Brian Cushing).

With the score at 35-0, it was time to see the youngsters. One of the best parts of a USC blowout is the opportunity to see players you don't normally get a chance to see in game action. On this night, several of them gave an exciting glimpse as to what we can expect to see more of in the future.

Mark Sanchez took a couple plays to get settled and by his second series he looked extremely comfortable. He stood nice in the pocket and threw a couple bullets to Travon Patterson. Mark also had a memorable run near the goal line where he went head first at the end of the run, on the following play he reached the end zone for his first touchdown as a Trojan.

Averell Spicer got into the backfield quickly for a TFL. Luthur Brown had a big play on kickoff coverage. Stafon Johnson ran hard and gained a total of 17 yards on three straight carries to end the game.

By the time all was said and done, every single player who made the trip got a chance to play and the smiles were wide in the locker room. The coaches and players know what waits for them at home with games against Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame. A tough stretch to be sure but we've also got a few things in our favor. Pete Carroll is undefeated in November, the Trojans have a long win streak at the Coliseum and, most importantly, we've got the talent on our roster to meet this challenge if we are playing Trojan football. Top Stories