for this game

Sanchez struggles, but USC cruises past Arizona State

Oct 12, 2008 - 12:51 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- On a day when Heisman hopeful Mark Sanchez struggled, Joe McKnight grabbed the spotlight.

McKnight ran for 143 yards and Fili Moala blocked two field goals as ninth-ranked Southern California survived five turnovers in Saturday's 28-0 Pac-10 Conference victory over Arizona State.

The heavily favored Trojans (4-1, 2-1 Pac-10) were not sharp in beating the Sun Devils for the ninth straight time. McKnight provided the excitement with a dazzling display of running ability.

The sophomore ran the ball 11 times and helped ice the game with 68 of the 92 yards on the Trojans' final scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter, using a mix of speed and agility to carve through Sun Devil defenders.

"He did something every chance he got just about," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "He was the spark and particularly gave us some light when we weren't looking like much in the second half."

Sanchez, who was nursing a leg injury suffered a week earlier, struggled for the first time this season - accounting for four turnovers in the third quarter.

"It was clear, Mark knew it - he was struggling," Carroll said. "It was a hard day for him."

The junior signal-caller was limited in practice all week after sustaining a bone bruise in his left knee during the Trojans' 44-10 victory over Oregon. He was able to participate in a full practice session Thursday, convincing Carroll that he was ready to start.

"He wasn't as solid as he could be," Carroll said. "I think it's incredible that he played, to tell you the truth. He got back, gave the team a lift, and fought his way through (the injury). This guy has been a hero at coming back."

However, Sanchez finished just 13-of-26 for 179 yards with two total touchdowns and three interceptions.

Nursing a 7-0 lead, the Trojans broke the game open during a brief stretch late in the second quarter.

Sanchez connected with Damian Williams on a 4-yard touchdown with 6:15 left before halftime. On the ensuing position, Arizona State's Rudy Carpenter threw an interception into the arms of defensive back Kevin Thomas, who returned it 45 yards along the sideline to make it 21-0.

The Sun Devils (2-4, 1-2) avoided further trouble when a bad snap on the next possession was recovered by the Trojans in great field position. However, USC ran a fake field-goal inside the 10-yard-line that failed.

Carpenter was a game-time decision because of a sprained ankle, which he suffered in a loss to California last Saturday. After wearing a boot early in the week, the senior made his 38th consecutive start.

Carpenter was 11-for-20 for 126 yards and an interception before being leaving after being sacked by linebacker Rey Maulaluga midway through the third.

The Trojans gave the Sun Devils every opportunity to make it a game after halftime, but Arizona State failed to capitalize.

"I don't know if I've been around an offensive performance like that in my career," Dennis Erickson said. "Whenever we get the football like we did in the third quarter as many times as we did, you've got to score points and we didn't. I wish I knew why."

Thomas Weber lined up for two field-goal attempts on consecutive possessions following USC turnovers, only to have both knocked down at the line of scrimmage by Moala, who tied the NCAA record of field goals blocked in one quarter.

"We just knew that they were kinda weak up front and took it to our advantage," Moala said.

The Trojans took the opening kickoff and needed just over three minutes to get in the end zone. Sanchez hit Ronald Johnson for a 34-yard gain to get into Sun Devils' territory and later capped off the drive with a 1-yard sneak for the score.

After beginning the season ranked 15th in the nation, the Sun Devils have dropped four in a row.








  • ** CONFIRMED **
    NCAAF
    ARIZONA ST 0
    USC (9) 28 FINAL

    Oct 11 6:54 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD USC
    STAFON JOHNSON 2 YD RUN
    (DAVID BUEHLER KICK)
    ARIZONA ST 0
    USC (8) 28 8:09 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Arizona State 0, USC(7) 28  4th - 8:09Oct 11 6:28 PM


  • NCAAF END, 3RD QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARIZONA ST 0 0 0 0
    USC (8) 7 14 0 21 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: USC - TD, MARK SANCHEZ 1 YD RUN (DAVID
    BUEHLER KICK), 3:14. USC 7-0
    2ND QUARTER: USC - TD, DAMIAN WILLIAMS 4 YD PASS FROM
    MARK SANCHEZ (DAVID BUEHLER
    KICK), 8:45. USC 14-0
    USC

    Oct 11 6:08 PM


  • NCAAF HALFTIME
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARIZONA ST 0 0 0
    USC (8) 7 14 21 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: USC - TD, MARK SANCHEZ 1 YD RUN (DAVID
    BUEHLER KICK), 3:14. USC 7-0
    2ND QUARTER: USC - TD, DAMIAN WILLIAMS 4 YD PASS FROM
    MARK SANCHEZ (DAVID BUEHLER
    KICK), 8:45. USC 14-0
    USC -

    Oct 11 4:59 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD USC
    KEVIN THOMAS 46 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN
    (DAVID BUEHLER KICK)
    ARIZONA ST 0
    USC (8) 21 4:56 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Arizona State 0, USC(7) 21  2nd - 4:56Oct 11 4:42 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD USC
    DAMIAN WILLIAMS 4 YD PASS FROM MARK SANCHEZ
    (DAVID BUEHLER KICK)
    ARIZONA ST 0
    USC (8) 14 6:15 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Arizona State 0, USC(7) 14  2nd - 6:15Oct 11 4:35 PM


  • NCAAF END, 1ST QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARIZONA ST 0 0
    USC (8) 7 7 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: USC - TD, MARK SANCHEZ 1 YD RUN (DAVID
    BUEHLER KICK), 3:14. USC 7-0

    Oct 11 4:09 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD USC
    MARK SANCHEZ 1 YD RUN
    (DAVID BUEHLER KICK)
    ARIZONA ST 0
    USC (8) 7 11:46 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Arizona State 0, USC(7) 7  1st - 11:46Oct 11 3:48 PM
  • 15
    roots
    rundog2293 Added 5 roots

    Arizona State vs. USC(7)Oct 11 2:08 PM
  • 10
    roots
    GREGnKY Added 5 roots

    Arizona State vs. USC(7)Oct 11 10:26 AM
  • 5
    roots
    Lemonman Added 5 roots

    Arizona State vs. USC(7)Oct 9 10:09 PM