Trojans Respond with a Blowout

After last week's debacle in Corvallis, the Trojans responded nicely with a 44-10 blowout victory over the Oregon Ducks on Saturday night behind the play of Mark Sanchez and a trio of wide receivers. Look inside for all the news from the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The Trojans did their best to erase any lingering doubts from the debacle in Corvallis with a dominant 44-10 blowout victory over a quality Oregon Duck team Saturday night in front of 82,765 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

"We knew we had this kind of big-play ability," Mark Sanchez said. "This is exactly what we wanted, to be able to score 44 points like that and get our backups in."

The Trojans offense, which was held scoreless in the first half against Oregon State, rebounded with an impressive performance, mixing their quick strike passing attack with a balanced running game in route to putting up 598 yards of total offense.

"The team really responded from our loss last week and I think this team is back," said Sanchez, who passed for 322 yards and three touchdowns. "It was a total team victory."

Oregon held a 7-3 lead after the first quarter of play but the Trojans' offense exploded in the second quarter, scoring 24 points behind three touchdown passes by Mark Sanchez.

"We came out maybe a little sluggish but we really turned things around quickly," Sanchez said.

Sanchez's first touchdown pass, which was to Damian Williams on a critical fouth-and-two play, shifted the momentum of the game.

"It took a certain amount of momentum away," Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti admitted after the game.

The touchdown pass was the beginning of a offensive avalanche that saw USC score 41 straight points.

"It was a great call," Sanchez said of the fourth down play. "We had watched it on film a million times and they gave us the right look."

On the night, Sanchez connected with Damian Williams, Ronald Johnson and Patrick Turner for touchdown passes.

"Ronald Johnson is electrifying; again he just lit the field up with his big play," Pete Carroll said. "Damian Williams played beautifully tonight and Patrick Turner continues to play great football for us.

"Those three guys have really emerged as our guys that we really need to feature, and give them the opportunities to make the plays because they are doing everything that we ask of them."

Stafon Johnson and C.J. Gable got the running game back on track after being a non-factor last Thursday in Corvallis.

"Once we couldn't stop the run, the whole playbook just opened up for them," said Oregon CB Jairus Byrd. "We played a lot of zone because we couldn't stop the run."

Stafon Johnson's 22-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the Trojans' first rushing touchdown since the season opening win at Viriginia.

While the offense lit up the scoreboard, the USC defense that featured some new faces in new places really clamped down on the high-powered Oregon offense.

The Ducks came into the game averaging an amazing 47 points per game but were held to just 10 points on the night.

"We saw a couple of films where teams were running an eight-man box, stacking it up in their and making them throw the ball," said Kevin Ellison, who had a career-high 12 tackles.

With Ellison playing close to the line, the Trojans limited the Ducks, who were leading the Pac-10 in rushing with an impressive 308.6-yard per game average, to just 60 yards on the ground.

"I think a lot of it was the scheme," Ellison said. "We got to have eleven guys out there doing it right. Last week at Oregon State, we didn't have everybody out there on the same page. This week we cleaned it up and everybody was doing there job."

Following last week's poor performance, the Trojans' defense responded with an intense effort highlighted by the play of Josh Pinkard, who came up with a big turnover near the end of the first half that lead to a score, and Brian Cushing, who had a solid game replacing Rey Maualuga at middle linebacker.

"These guys came out and played like crazy tonight," Pete Carroll said following the 44-10 victory. "Every phase of our football team played and everybody responded.

"Great night at the Coliseum and I am really happy about his win."


Mark Sanchez gets congratulated by the fans after USC's 44-10 victory. (Getty Images/
Robert Laberge)

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden
at kevin@scplaybook.com


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