Rivers making the stop. Photo: Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images, via Yahoo
OK, that might not be fair.
But like I said... we may have a bit of a QB controversy. Sanchez looked great 4 TD's NO Int's for 235 yards.
Sanchez replaced John David Booty, a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate, after the senior suffered a broken finger during an embarrassing 24-23 defeat to lowly Stanford on Oct. 6.
After throwing for just 130 yards with two interceptions in an uninspiring 20-13 victory against Arizona on Oct. 13, Sanchez showed Saturday why he was such a highly prized recruit.
Sanchez finished 21 of 38 for 235 yards and the four scores, including a 48-yard strike to Vidal Hazelton that made it 31-0.
Let me get this out of the way first, Lou Holtz needs to shut up. I don't mean to be disrespectful to my elders but he was way off of his rocker thinking that ND was going to win this game let alone keep it close. We get it Lou you coached ND and you're in the tank for them but please don't mistake us for the team across town. We may be in a bit of a rough patch right now but we have been there before and this team knows how win and we have a coaching staff that rightly or wrongly sticks with its game plan and executes it. Across town the collective thought process is not which is right or which is wrong but which way is up...
SC got off to a slow start punting on four of their first six drives. One of those punts was blocked but without anything coming out of it. Sanchez hit Fred Davis in the end zone who made a great one-handed grab for the score and we went on from there. I realize this was Notre Dame whose only win was against ucla, who beat Cal today, but ND was never in this game. Green jerseys be damned, they weren't winning if Jesus himself was calling the plays with divine intervention.
This was the best offensive production we have seen by SC this season. Sanchez connected with 9 different receivers as he finally showed us all what he was capable of after a shaky start last week against Arizona. Sanchez did have 2 tipped passes, which must have everyone's heart sink but without any negative affects. This was the USC that we wanted to see in previous weeks and they finally showed up.
The defense was putting pressure on Sharpley for most of the day. The defense sacked Sharpley six times and for the most part ND was getting stuffed on the run and they weren't getting any big plays on the pass. I was happy to see SC tighten up the coverage on the short passes. Where was that in previous weeks? The secondary was hardly tested so I can't say they had a great game but they kept it all in front of them.
We got some turnovers and we had some luck. The punt coverage that caused he ND turnover was actually fine but the player who made contact with the ball should have paid closer attention to where the ball was. Sanchez made quick work of that mistake hitting Davis in the aforementioned play above. SC picked up a fumble recovery after Cary Harris hit Travis Thomas on a screen putting the ND 13. Joe McKnight, after being slightly injured with a thigh bruise early on, gave us more of what we wanted a to see with a 51 yard TD run.
Sanchez made his case to keep the starting job with one of the best offensive performances this year. The coaches have a big decision to make about whom to start next week against the Ducks. Outside of few passes that were either overthrown or behind receivers Sanchez didn't make a mistake all day and he handled the noise and the crowd masterfully. This goes a long way to helping his confidence should he get the start against Oregon. The running game was productive with a patched up O line and everyone got into the game. McKnight was the star with his great 51 yard run. He did fumble a punt, which he did recover, but he is finally getting into a groove.
So we'll look at some of the other fallout from this game over the next few days but we need to now focus on Oregon who as I write this is playing a wild game up in Seattle which they will win.
The Pac-10 is going to get very interesting...