Virginia Falls to Third-Ranked USC, 52-7
Aug. 30, 2008
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -Mark Sanchez threw three touchdown passes in his first game as Southern California's true No. 1 quarterback and the third-ranked Trojans rolled over Virginia 52-7 Saturday.
The Trojans lead 21-0 after just 11 minutes and weren't tested, allowing coach Pete Carroll to keep things simple in advance of a home game against No. 2 Ohio State in two weeks.
Sanchez, just more than three weeks removed from a dislocated kneecap that kept him out of practice until this week, showed no ill effects. He was 26-for-35 for 338 yards.
The 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 it appears to be in good hands.
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.
The Cavaliers' 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 near flawless.
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.
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 Ronald Johnson behind the secondary, hitting him in stride as he crossed the goal line for a 49-yard connection that made it 38-7.
Peter Lalich, who won the three-way battle for the Cavaliers quarterback job, hit on 18 of 35 passes.