Scores

Final

(3) USC 52

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Virginia 7

(0-1, 0-1 home)

Coverage: ABC

3:30 PM ET, August 30, 2008

Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA

1 2 3 4 T
#3USC 21 3 14 1452
UVA 7 0 0 07

Top Performers

Passing: M. Sanchez (USC) - 338 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: C. Gable (USC) - 9 CAR, 73 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: R. Johnson (USC) - 3 REC, 78 YDS, 1 TD

QB Sanchez in prime form as visiting USC blows out Virginia

Associated Press

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Now that he's proven to himself that his knee is healthy, Mark Sanchez can settle into showing everyone that Southern California is in really good hands.

Sanchez threw three touchdown passes in his first game as the Trojans' true No. 1 quarterback on Saturday, leading third-ranked USC to a 52-7 victory against Virginia.

Fast Facts

•  USC has won 11 straight season openers and nine straight non-conference road games.

• In USC's first visit to the state of Virginia, Mark Sanchez threw for a career-high 338 yards and three TDs.

• All seven USC touchdowns were scored by different players.

-- ESPN Research

Just more than three weeks removed from a dislocated kneecap that kept him out of practice until this week, Sanchez showed no ill effects. He was 26-for-35 for 338 yards and directed the Trojans on three touchdown drives in the first 11 minutes. They rolled from there.

"It's exciting to know I got one under my belt with this whole knee deal," he said. "I'm back to 100 percent. I feel good and we're ready to start preparing for Ohio State."

While Sanchez plans to spend some of that time continuing the rehabilitation that sparked his remarkable recovery, it may be that coach Pete Carroll uses it to tweak some things.

The offense, for example, to make use of Sanchez's resourcefulness in the pocket.

"That's an exciting aspect of our offense that I felt like we didn't have the last couple of years," Carroll said, recalling a play when Sanchez ducked under a pass rusher and stepped into a long ball that hit wide open Ronald Johnson in the end zone for a 49-yard TD play.

"I think we all sense it," Carroll said, "and we've been excited about it."

The Trojans lead 21-0 very quickly and weren't tested, allowing Carroll to keep the offense simple in advance of their home game against the No. 2 Buckeyes in two weeks. Even this early in the season, the matchup figures to greatly impact the championship race.

Dinich: Cavs' QB Takes Hit

Virginia coach Al Groh didn't take long to call out quarterback Peter Lalich following Saturday's season-opening loss, Heather Dinich writes. Blog

"Knowing we have these two weeks to prepare means a lot, too," Sanchez said.

Sanchez, a junior, started three games last season, filling in for the injured John David Booty and going 2-1. Now, USC is Sanchez's team, and he made that evident in the opener.

"You can just sense that if you give him time back there, he's going to find guys and he's got a real attitude about him to take advantage of it," Carroll said. "It's his nature."

The Cavaliers could clearly use some of that swagger.

Virginia had former stars Tiki and Ronde Barber and Chris Long in attendance and a Scott Stadium record crowd of 64,947 on hand, but the Cavaliers had minus 15 yards on their first three offensive series and needed 25 yards in penalties on their lone scoring drive.

Virginia ran for just 32 yards and was outgained 558-187.

"The only way to bounce back from a game like this is to take it as a learning experience," tailback Cedric Peerman said. "We will have a lot of work to do in practice."

The Cavaliers' TD came on Mikell Simpson's 7-yard run late in the first quarter, after a 15-yard roughing the passer flag and a 10-yard pass interference call against the Trojans.

Virginia never threatened again and USC was nearly flawless behind its quarterback.

The Trojans drove 56 yards in eight plays on their first possession, with Stafon Johnson running it in from the 2, and took over at the Virginia 47 on their next possession.

Sanchez completed three 10-yard passes in the drive, twice hitting tight end Anthony McCoy over the middle and then Joe McKnight took a dump-off pass 10 yards to the end zone.

"It felt good," Sanchez said. "I moved when I needed to and was really happy out there."

After another three-and-out for Virginia, C.J. Gable went off the right side on a fourth-and-1 from Virginia's 33 and cruised untouched down the sideline for a TD that made it 21-0.

In the second half, Sanchez hit Patrick Turner over the middle in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown, and then rolled out and found Johnson all alone behind the secondary.

By then, fans were streaming for the exits.

Peter Lalich, who won the three-way battle for the Cavaliers quarterback job, hit on 18 of 35 passes, but for just 155 yards. He was intercepted once, setting up a USC touchdown, and came away with tremendous respect for the program that has won 11 national championships and been maybe the best program in the country since Carroll took over in 2001.

"Their speed was pretty unbelievable the whole game," he said. "It's something they have across the board, at every position, and they really were able to use it to their advantage."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
USC
UVA
1st Downs2714
Total Yards558187
Passing350155
Rushing20832
Penalties7-704-21
3rd Down Conversions5-122-12
4th Down Conversions3-40-0
Turnovers24
Possession36:3123:29

Passing Leaders

USCC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Sanchez26/353389.731
VirginiaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Lalich18/351554.401

Rushing Leaders

USCCARYDSAVGTDLG
Gable9738.1133
McKnight66010.0023
VirginiaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Peerman8324.0020
Simpson6183.019

Receiving Leaders

USCRECYDSAVGTDLG
Williams79113.0028
Johnson37826.0149
VirginiaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Koch34013.3021
Green34013.3016

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERUSCUVA
TD10:29Stafon Johnson 2 Yd Run (David Buehler Kick)
Drive: 8 plays, 56 yds, 3:05
70
TD07:00Joe Mcknight 10 Yd Pass From Mark Sanchez (David Buehler Kick)
Drive: 5 plays, 47 yds, 2:04
140
TD04:01C.J. Gable 33 Yd Run (David Buehler Kick)
Drive: 4 plays, 42 yds, 2:05
210
TD02:14Mikell Simpson 7 Yd Run (Yannick Reyering Kick)
Drive: 6 plays, 62 yds, 1:47
217
SECOND QUARTERUSCUVA
FG09:07David Buehler 20 Yd
Drive: 15 plays, 85 yds, 8:07
247
THIRD QUARTERUSCUVA
TD12:07Patrick Turner 20 Yd Pass From Mark Sanchez (David Buehler Kick)
Drive: 7 plays, 82 yds, 2:53
317
TD03:28Ronald Johnson 49 Yd Pass From Mark Sanchez (David Buehler Kick)
Drive: 5 plays, 80 yds, :59
387
FOURTH QUARTERUSCUVA
TD10:47Allen Bradford 2 Yd Run (David Buehler Kick)
Drive: 7 plays, 46 yds, 4:08
457
TD02:33Marc Tyler 10 Yd Pass From Mitch Mustain (David Buehler Kick)
Drive: 4 plays, 11 yds, 2:00
527