In a game that had the feel of a Rose Bowl, the Trojans led by their dominating defense and big play offense made another Big Ten heavyweight look quite ordinary on Saturday night in front of 93,607 delighted fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
”It was great to play again at the Coliseum with all the build up this week,” said Pete Carroll following the Trojan 35-3 victory. “To have it happen like this it just worked out beautifully."
The Trojans finished off Ohio State with some quick jabs by Joe McKnight, a punishing blow by Rey Maualuga and the knockout punch was delivered by Damian Williams, who pulled in two touchdown catches in the second half of USC’s 35-3 thrashing of Ohio State.
“He’s an absolute stud. He was away from football for a year, so he’s hungry,” Mark Sanchez said of Damian Williams.
Joe McKnight and Damian Williams dazzled the crowd with their playmaking ability but it was the Trojans defense, led by a group of seniors: Rey Maualuga, Clay Matthews, Kevin Ellison, Kyle Moore and Brian Cushing that shutdown the Buckeyes.
“I’m just fired up by the defense. The fact that they (Ohio State) scored first and then never again was so cool,” Carroll said.
The Buckeyes put together an impressive 69-yard drive on their second possession of the day, ending with a 29-yard field goal by Ryan Pretorius but were unable to muster another point all night.
“They showed us their game plan and we made our adjustments,” Carroll said of the Buckeyes’ 17-play drive.
Kyle Moore added: “We don’t want anyone to get anything on us. After that first drive we made sure that it didn’t happen again.”
Linebacker Rey Maualuga had the play of the night for the defense when he intercepted a Todd Boeckman pass and returned it for a 48-yard touchdown, giving the Trojans a commanding 21-3 lead before the half.
“I read the play well and got a jump on the ball and got it with my 4.2 speed,” Maualuga said with a laugh. “That was my life dream right there.”
“A good team like USC makes it hard for you to climb back in,” Jim Tressel said. “And when you throw a pick-six the other way, things like that make it hard.”
The USC defense certainly made it hard for the Buckeyes with their constant pressure. On the night, the Trojans recorded five quarterback sacks and had 11 tackles for loss.
“I think that’s their style,” Tressel said of the Trojans. “They put pressure on you.”
For the USC defense tonight's result was nothing new.
“They have been hyping this game for a long time and we knew all along that our defense comes to play every week and tonight we showed it,” said Kyle Moore, who had a team-high two tackles for loss and a quarterback sack.
With the dominant 35-3 win on Saturday the Trojans have now held Ohio State to three points or less in last four meeting in the Coliseum.
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