It was a pretty horrible day for most of the Pac-9 with UCLA and Washington getting slammed and Cal losing out to a questionable Maryland team.
However, the powerful Pac-1 with USC, its flagship team, further separated itself from the Pac-9 and remained at the top of the College Football universe with a drubbing of the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Number1 team from the Big Ten.
But it was the Big Ten and not the Pac-1 that struck first to open the match up.
Buckeye head coach, Jim Tressel decided to mix it up to confuse the USC defense by alternating quarterbacks Todd Boeckman and true freshman, Terelle Pryor on nearly every play.
Tressel mixed up the playcalling as well with the Buckeyes driving from their own 19 with Boeckman throwing and Pryor and Boom Herron running down to the USC 5.
There the Trojan defense stiffened, and Ryan Pretorius kicked a 29-yard Buckeye field goal.
Despite all the Trojan speed from their stable of running backs and wide receivers, instead it was fullback Stanley Havili who scored the games first touchdown on a 35-yard pass from Mark Sanchez to put the Trojans up 7-3.
Ohio State went three-and-out, and USC took over on their 40.
After a first down pass to Patrick Turner, Joe McKnight rattled off a 24-yard run. Then Havili slipped out of the backfield again and Sanchez found him for another first down. C.J. Gable took it down to the two. Then Sanchez hit true freshman tight end Blake Ayles on a play action pass for a 14-3 lead.
A facemask penalty against Kyle Moore gave the Buckeyes a first down on their 48 and new life.
A third down pass to Robiskie and a 13-yard run by Pryor brought Ohio State to the USC 20. But two holding penalties negated an Ohio State touchdown and pushed them back beyond the 35. Ryan Pretorius missed a 46-yard field goal.
After the Buckeyes forced the Trojans to punt, they were Maualugaed. The fierce Trojan linebacker intercepted a Todd Boeckman pass and would not be denied as he ran it back 50 yards to give the Trojans a 21-3 lead.
After Clay Matthews sacked Boeckman, causing a fumble, the Trojans drove to the Buckeyes 10, But Chimidi Chekwa intercepted Sanchez in the end zone.
Going in at halftime, Tressel complained about his teams penalties, “We had touchdowns called back, big plays called back…But our kids are hanging tough. That was a big play (Chekwa’s interception) at the end of the half for us.”
Pete Carroll was asked about Terrelle Pryor breaking acouple big runs against his defense. “We made a couple of mistakes on the sidelines, the coaches did,” Carroll said. “We’ll get that cleaned up, so he doesn’t have much room.”
After a Trojan drive stalled on the Buckeye 30 to start the second half, Woidneck punted the Buckeyes inside the five, and the defense forced a three and out.
The Trojans took over on the Buckeye 40. After runs by Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson, penalties backed the Trojans up. But Sanchez threw a lazer to Damian Williams splitting the seam on a slant for a 24-yard TD strike and a 28-3 lead.
At this point, ABC lost all of its viewers in the South. It wasn’t Hurricane Ike but the Trojan storm that turned off all the SEC viewers.
The Trojan defense battered Todd Boeckman to force yet another Buckeye punt.
With three different running backs touching the ball, the Trojans offense shifted into high gear. Sanchez finished the drive hitting Damian Williams again as he looped around a perfect pick by Patrick Turner and was wide open in the end zone.
The third period ended with the Trojans up 35-3 and charging downhill.
The fourth quarter started with the Buckeyes secondary getting away with a pass interference. But the Trojan defense quickly turned things around with Kevin Ellison intercepting a very hurried Boeckman pass on the Buckeye 35.
The Trojans got down to the 15, but on a 4-and-3, Marcus Freeman tracked down Sanchez back on the 29.
Offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian, can scratch that one off the books.
From that point, Pete Carroll inserted Aaron Corp at quarterback along with the second and third units to give his reserves some game experience.
Mitch Mustain came in for mop up duty, and the game ended with the Pac-1 USC Trojans destroying Ohio State, 35-3.
After the game, Mark Sanchez, who threw for four touchdowns, said it was a testament to the offensive coaches. “It was another game in a row. They did it in Virginia. They did it at home. The receivers making big time catches, the offensive game plan going into this match up. I felt like I played this game a million times already.”
As far as his knee is concerned, Sanchez said, “It’s good…I’ll be ready for our game in two weeks against Oregon State.”
Sanchez said he felt like he left a few plays out on the field and they didn’t play at a hundred percent.
On the other side, Jim Tressel said, “We played a good football team tonight. We didn’t do the things we needed to do to beat them. Our guys will be disappointed, but we have a lot of faith in them. They go back to work and get as good as we can. We can’t lose sight of the fact that it’s September.”
James Laurinaitis, the Buckeye All-American linebacker We’ve got some good leaders on this team. We really do. We’ve got some guys that I think are going to be mature…As much as this hurts right now, we’ve got a lot of games left to play.”
Damian Williams, who caught two TD passes, paid his respects to the USC fans. “There’s a lot of fans cheering us on. We’re excited to be here. We couldn’t wait to get back to the Coli.”
Williams also talked about why the Trojans passing game was so effective. “Our offensive line did a great job protecting. We did a great job in the running game. And it made it a lot easier to throw the ball.”
Defensive end Kyle Moore spoke about the defensive adjustments in the second half. “After halftime we always count the game as 0-0. We want to come out there. We want to keep pounding. We want to keep the pressure on. We don’t want to give them anything.”
And keep the pressure on they certain did. The Trojan defense held the Buckeyes to just two yards net in the third quarter.
All in all, it was a complete ball game for USC and the Pac-1 on both sides of the ball. Next up, the Beavers of Oregon State in Corvallis in two weeks.
Mark Sanchez was 17 of 28 for 172 yards with 4TDs and 1 interception. Joe McKnight was the leading rusher with 106 yards on 12 carries.