In what has become commonplace when Pete Carroll's USC teams go on the road against nonconference foes, the crowd at Virginia's Scott Stadium headed for the exits early, clearing out a good deal of the stands before the final whistle.
64,947 fans attended the USC-Virginia game, which was the largest crowd in Scott Stadium history, but the Virginia faithful were quickly quieted when the Trojans came out and scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the game.
"Virginia really had the momentum from their fans at the beginning of the game," said linebacker Clay Matthews, who was a standout for the USC defense. "When it got to be the third and fourth quarter, you could really hear the USC fans, especially the band playing the fight song."
Big Play Potential
The Trojans returned nearly all of their skill position players from last season and on Saturday, we saw what a year of experience has done for the Trojans' offense.
"That was an exciting aspect of our offense that I felt like we didn't have the last couple of years," Pete Carroll said of the Trojans big play capability. "We all sensed it, and we have been excited about it."
The Trojans quick strike offense racked up 558 yards in their 52-7 blowout of Virginia.
All Six in the Mix at Tailback
The Trojans have six capable tailbacks on the roster and Steve Sarkisian found a way to get them all into the mix against Virginia.
"You guys all worry about how many running backs we got, well five out of the six scored which was great," Carroll jokingly said to the media.
The Trojans rushed for 218 yards on 41 attempts and five out of the six tailbacks scored touchdowns on Saturday.
"Let's not worry about how many running backs we have; let's use all five of them," Carroll added. "We are happy to be able to execute with all of those different guys involved in the offense."
Pete Carroll has always been a proponent of getting freshmen early playing time and in the season opener eight members of the 2008 recruiting class saw action.
"Tons of freshmen were out there, and that will help them understand more about the urgency and the things that they need to do to help us," Coach Carroll said after the Trojans 52-7 victory over Virginia. "We need all of those guys ready to go here as we get through the schedule."
Freshman defensive end Malik Jackson showed why the coaches have been so high on his ability, recording two tackles and a sack.
Fun Facts and Stats
Saturday's attendance of 64,947 was the largest in Scott Stadium history. The previous high was 63,701 set against the Miami Hurricanes on Nov. 13, 2004.
Saturday's win over Virginia was the 11th straight year that the Trojans have won their season opener.
Mark Sanchez's 338 passing yards were a new career-high for the junior quarterback. Not a bad way to start the season.
While Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga are the headliners of the linebacker group, Kaluka Maiaiva and Clay Matthews stole the show on Saturday. Maiava and Matthews tied for the team lead with 6 tackles. Matthews also added a sack, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.
Wide receiver Damian Williams lived up to all the praise in his first game as a Trojan. The talented receiver had a team-high 7 catches for 91 yards.
After missing the 2007 season with a shoulder injury, Kevin Thomas made his presence felt by intercepting a Pete Lalich pass.
Freshman defensive end Malik Jackson recorded the first sack of his career and forced a fumble.
Up next: The Trojans will play host to the Ohio State Buckeyes on Sept. 13th at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden