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Local eyes are smiling / USC gets its biggest victory over Notre Dame, 38-0, and UCLA pulls rank on California with a 30-21 upset

No. 13 Trojans restore confidence after three shaky games, while Irish barely put up fight, falling to 1-7.

October 21, 2007|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Tailback Stafon Johnson returned from a foot injury and gained 47 yards against the Irish. Starting offensive linemen Sam Baker (hamstring) and Chilo Rachal (knee) could be in the lineup against Oregon.

"We're going to be all right," Carroll said. "We're going to be all right."

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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KEYS TO THE GAME

Gary Klein's keys to the game and how USC measured up:

1. Leading men. In his second start, USC sophomore quarterback Mark Sanchez eliminated mistakes and completed 21 of 38 passes for 235 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Notre Dame quarterback Evan Sharpley, a junior, was 17 for 33 for 117 yards with an interception in his first start.

2. Offensive line. USC's injury-depleted offensive line helped the Trojans rush for 227 yards and did not give up a sack. Joe McKnight gained 65 yards, starter Chauncey Washington 64. Notre Dame surrendered five sacks and produced only 48 yards rushing. The Fighting Irish have given up 39 sacks in eight games.

3. Turnovers. The Trojans got lucky when a USC punt hit an Irish player, setting up the game's first touchdown. Cornerback Cary Harris also forced a fumble that led to a touchdown, and safety Kevin Ellison intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter. Notre Dame blocked a punt but failed to capitalize when USC blocked a field-goal attempt.

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