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Thoughts on Stanford

OK, I'm back in the saddle after having some quality family time this weekend.

With USC's win against Stanford on Saturday the first question we should ask is "what did we learn?"

From Scott Wolf at the Daily News:

USC got its blowout, but Trojans coach Pete Carroll wanted a lot more Saturday and delivered several emotional lectures to make sure no one thought that merely beating a winless team was mission accomplished.

More than once during the ninth-ranked Trojans' 42-0 victory over hapless Stanford in front of 49,371, Carroll berated his own players unlike during any of USC's more recent nailbiters.

"He definitely was very animated and getting on us," freshman safety Taylor Mays said.

The crowd at Stanford Stadium was generally pleased because there were so many USC fans in attendance, but Carroll kept a tight leash on the Trojans (7-1 overall, 5-1 Pacific-10 Conference) as they enter the final four-game stretch of the season.

"There were some reasons to get on some guys," Carroll said. "One play, we missed about four tackles. It didn't seem right."

It looks like they put the Oregon St. game behind them. There is no time to sulk about the past, we control our own destiny and we need to move forward as far the season goes. This game was over mid-way through the 2nd qtr. and everyone got involved.  JDB had TD passes to Jarrett, Smith and Davis. Washington had a TD run, as did Sanchez and special teams blocked a kick that was returned for a TD.

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

We didn't cough up the ball, though JDB did fumble on a sack that was recovered by SC. We put pressure on Stanford QB T. C. Ostrander which led to 2 INT's, Keith Rivers forced a fumble and the defense also recorded 2 sacks. Terrell Thomas pushed the defense to do a better job in their unit breakout prior to the game and his leadership produced results.

From Gary Klein at the LA Times:

Carroll and many of the players credited cornerback Terrell Thomas for spurring the Trojans, who had committed four turnovers against Oregon State but did not create one in the game.

Thomas addressed the team Friday night with a speech that inspired not only teammates but himself.

"I just felt the need to put a spark on it," he said.

The 6-1, 200-pound junior from Rancho Cucamonga intercepted a pass and returned a blocked field-goal attempt 71 yards for a touchdown. Safety Kevin Ellison also intercepted a pass and the Trojans recovered a fumbled kickoff and converted it for a touchdown.

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Rey Maulugua continues to over-pursue the ball and was pulled for misreading a screen pass. It looked liked Pete Carroll was dropping the hammer on a number of people including Moody and Sanchez. That's what these guys needed, a kick in the pants. There should be no delusions that the most important games of the season are in front of us. Losing even one game will ruin our chances at getting a bid to a top notch bowl game let alone the BCS title game, which at this point is a long shot at best.

All is not lost but lets be careful in our enthusiasm for this win until we do the same thing to one of the teams that still lie ahead.