Upon Further Review - USC vs. Notre Dame

"The hero of the day has to be Mark Sanchez. After sitting on the sidelines for the better part of three years, Sanchez pulls off a great game in a big time game against a big time opponent. Sure, the Fighting Irish are down this year. But the numbers don't lie: 38-0, the first shutout at Notre Dame Stadium since 1960 and first Trojan shutout there since 1933."

Upon Further Review – USC Blanks Notre Dame 38-0

Heroes and Cowboys

The hero of the day has to be Mark Sanchez. After sitting on the sidelines for the better part of three years, Sanchez pulls off a great game in a big time game against a big time opponent. Sure, the Fighting Irish are down this year. But the numbers don't lie: 38-0, the first shutout at Notre Dame Stadium since 1960 and first Trojan shutout there since 1933.

The quarterback also had an incredible 21 for 38 and 235 yards. He had four touchdowns and no interceptions. Sanchez spread the ball around to eight different receivers.

Offensive Gameball: Mark Sanchez

Run Forest, Run

Joe McKnight had an incredible 51-yard run in the 4th quarter. It was reminiscent of another running back not so long ago that won a Heisman Trophy for the Trojans with elusive sideline-to-sideline jaunts. It wouldn't be fair to McKnight to compare him to Reggie Bush, but who's counting? McKnight has that exciting running style that can only be compared to Bush. Look for McKnight to excel with punt returns, kickoff returns, running and receiving yards. Not to compare him with Bush, but he runs better between the tackles than Bush did.

Receivers on Track

The wide receiver corps looked great as a unit in this game. Dropped balls were not noticeable and as a group, put together their best game of the season. Vidal Hazelton had an entertaining catch and run that should make the highlight reels. He had three catches for 80 yards, 48 coming off of the touchdown run after catch.

Four receivers; Fred Davis, Hazelton, Stanley Havili and Allen Bradford caught touchdown passes. For the third time this year, Bradford stretched the ball over the goal line for his touchdown reception. Fred Davis had five catches for 40 yards and a touchdown.

Silver Star: Vidal Hazelton
Perpetual Star: Fred Davis

Special Teams Woes

The Trojans got a punt blocked in this game. Special teams needs to work on protection and Woidneck needs to get the punt off quicker. On the punt block, Woidneck appeared to be in slow motion and did not have a sense of urgency to get the punt away quickly.

Special teams needs to tighten up on protection of the kicker and punter.

On the bright side, David Buehler hit a 30-yard field goal and averaged 65 yards on seven kickoffs.

Defensive Intensity

Not enough can be said about Sedrick Ellis. Ellis had two sacks (1 solo) for a total of 15-yards loss. He also had 5 tackles (3 solo). What is not in the stats is the pressure he created all day long. Sedrick pressured the quarterback and running backs.

Luther Brown and Kyle Moore had six tackles each while Ellis, Fili Moala and Kevin Ellison each had five.

Defensive gameball: Sedrick Ellis
Gold Star: the defense for pitching a shutout

On the Road Again

The team and the coaches are beginning to form a cohesive unit, typical of Pete Carroll teams in the second half of the season. Coach Carroll led teams are undefeated in the month of November, in six years, zero defeats. That is an incredible accomplishment.

Bronze Star: Coaching Staff


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