3:30 PM ET, October 18, 2008
Martin Stadium, PULLMAN, WA
PULLMAN, Wash. -- Two hours before kickoff, Southern California's players menacingly rocked their buses, as if they couldn't wait to get on the field. There would be no taking Washington State lightly, not after what happened on their last trip to the Pacific Northwest.
Worse For The Wear
Entering the day, Washington State had the second-longest streak without being shutout. USC defeated Washington State 69-0 handing the Cougars their first shutout since 1984 and largest shutout loss in school history . The previous largest was a 61-0 loss to California in 1922.
|* -- Ended Saturday|
Mark Sanchez became the first USC quarterback to throw five touchdown passes in a half and the focused No. 6 Trojans dominated this time as a huge favorite, beating Washington State 69-0 on Saturday a month after they were upset by Oregon State.
USC's defense, ranked first in the nation coming in by allowing just 9.4 points per game, ended the Cougars' streak of scoring at 280 games dating to Sept. 15, 1984, when Ohio State beat Washington State 44-0. That scoring streak was second-longest in the nation to Michigan's 295 games.
"Our guys had a ball playing football today, from the locker room on out," coach Pete Carroll said. "Right from the start, we wanted to find that focus that we really hadn't had yet."
It was the largest shutout victory for USC (5-1, 3-1 Pac-10) since a 69-0 win over Montana in 1931.
"Our intention wasn't to come out and beat these guys by 80 points. Our intention was to come out and play a great football game," star linebacker Rey Maualuga said.
• USC made history with its 400th all-time Pac-10 victory, recording its largest shutout win and largest margin of victory since a 69-0 defeat of Montana in 1931.
• After beating Arizona State 28-0 last week, the Trojans have now recorded consecutive shutouts for the first time since 1971.
• Washington State was held scoreless for the first time since 1984, ending a stretch of 280 straight games, which was the nation's second-longest active streak behind Michigan's 306. For Washington State, it's also the largest shutout loss and largest margin of defeat in school history.
• The Cougars have now allowed at least 60 points in four games this year, becoming the first BCS team to allow 60-plus points four times in a season.
-- ESPN research
The Trojans easily could have done both. Maualuga was kicking himself for having a potential interception and touchdown bang off his hand in the second quarter. And USC began showing mercy at the end of the first half, marching to the WSU 10 but then letting time expire.
The Trojans have won their last three games by a combined 141-10 since that stunning loss at Oregon State on Sept. 25 cost them their No. 1 ranking. They have scored 117 unanswered points. They have recorded consecutive shutouts for the first time since 1971.
"That loss to Oregon State couldn't have come at a better time as far as waking everybody up," Maualuga said.
Sanchez wasn't surprised.
"It's supposed to look that way when you prepare that way," said the Pac-10's leader in passing efficiency, with 19 touchdowns and six interceptions.
He completed 15 of 20 passes for 253 yards. He also tied the school record of five scoring throws for a game -- shared with Rodney Peete, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart -- with 4:51 still remaining in the second quarter. Tight end Anthony McCoy turned a 10-yard pass into a 21-yard touchdown by spinning off a hit by Xavier Hicks.
The Cougars (1-7, 0-5) absorbed their largest margin of defeat since they began playing in 1894. And that's with Carroll pulling his starters beginning in the first quarter, Sanchez playing only 2 1/2 quarters, and USC mostly running basic off-tackle plays in the second half -- when it still scored 28 points.
At least Washington State won't lose again this week. It has a bye.
"I'd take two," first-year coach Paul Wulff said.
Beset by injuries, Washington State has allowed 66, 63, 66 and now 69 in four of their conference losses. The Cougars, whose only win is against Portland State of the Championship Subdivision, have been outscored 385-111 this season. That's on track to break the Pac-10 record for most points allowed in a season, 469 by Oregon State in 1981.
"It's unfortunate for those guys. They are trying to build a program," Carroll said. "It's tough. I don't know what else we could have done.
"It was a little bit uncomfortable to see what was going to happen."
The Trojans outgained Washington State 408-17 in the first half and 625-116 for the game. They led 21-0 less than 11 minutes in. Patrick Turner and Ronald Johnson each caught two of Sanchez's scoring throws, freshman Broderick Green rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns and C.J. Gable ran for 109 yards and three more scores. Stafon Johnson must have had an off game. He ran for 112 yards but didn't score.
It was the first time USC had three 100-yard rushers in a game since 1977.
"We're at where we're supposed to be," Gable said.
On offense, the Cougars never crossed midfield. They protected quarterback Kevin Lopina from getting hit and tried to shorten this rout by snapping directly to running backs and even wide receivers in passing situations. Lopina completed six of nine passes for 28 yards -- WSU's lowest air output since 1975 -- with one interception. He hit the ground twice in his return from a broken bone in his back.
Washington State had four first downs. They didn't advance past their own 38-yard line until the third quarter -- when third-stringer Logwone Mitz lost a fumble at the WSU 40 at the end of a run.
The dispirited home fans gave a derisive standing ovation 2:30 left in the first quarter when Lopina found Jeshua Anderson for a 10-yard completion and WSU's only first down of the half.
"Something has to change. It has to," Cougars defensive lineman Andy Mattingly said. "A lot of guys are getting used to losing. It doesn't [tick] them off that we are losing this bad."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... The Trojans awoke Saturday morning and weren't feeling very merciful.
Gameball goes to... Mark Sanchez, who threw for 253 yards and five touchdowns, all coming in the first half.
Stat of the game... 1931. 69-0 was the largest margin of victory for a USC team in a shutout in 78 years.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||8-12||1-13|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||0-0|
|TD||12:58||Patrick Turner 23 Yd Pass From Mark Sanchez (David Buehler Kick)||7||0|
|TD||08:26||Patrick Turner 14 Yd Pass From Mark Sanchez (David Buehler Kick)||14||0|
|TD||04:13||Ronald Johnson 3 Yd Pass From Mark Sanchez (David Buehler Kick)||21||0|
|TD||12:25||C.J. Gable 17 Yd Run (Pat Blocked)||27||0|
|TD||07:49||Ronald Johnson 16 Yd Pass From Mark Sanchez (David Buehler Kick)||34||0|
|TD||04:51||Anthony Mccoy 21 Yd Pass From Mark Sanchez (David Buehler Kick)||41||0|
|TD||05:35||C.J. Gable 3 Yd Run (David Buehler Kick)||48||0|
|TD||14:57||Broderick Green 1 Yd Run (David Buehler Kick)||55||0|
|TD||12:50||Broderick Green 18 Yd Run (David Buehler Kick)||62||0|
|TD||02:16||C.J. Gable 4 Yd Run (David Buehler Kick)||69||0|