Sanchez accepts blame for loss

first_imgBy Scott Wolf and Paul Oberjuerge STAFF WRITERS EUGENE, Ore. – Mark Sanchez didn’t point any fingers. Except at himself. USC’s sophomore quarterback, starting only his third game, all but took personal responsibility for the Trojans’ damaging 24-17 defeat at Oregon on Saturday. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.And Coach Pete Carroll didn’t seem to be in a mood to argue with him. “Last week I was a hero,” Sanchez said, “and this week I’m a zero.” Sanchez passed for 277 yards and two touchdowns on 26-for-42 accuracy. But he also threw two costly second-half interceptions. The first ruined a promising third-quarter drive and set up Oregon’s final touchdown thrust. The second killed USC’s last-minute attempt to snatch victory from defeat, coming 33 yards from a potential tying touchdown on a play that began with 23 seconds to play. Sanchez passed for four touchdowns without an interception in a 38-0 victory at Notre Dame last week, but his two interceptions, both by safety Matthew Harper, were too much for the ninth-ranked Trojans to overcome against the fifth-ranked Ducks. “They can be your worst enemy,” a somber Sanchez said quietly of the interceptions. “That first one was a good read, a physical mistake, just a bad throw. You can’t do that. I have to take that one on the chin. There’s no excuse for that. “The second one, we were driving, had a little momentum going. I had Fred (Davis) break open over the middle. That free safety, he must have read my eyes, but he made a pretty good play. He jumped in front of Fred. That one I have to look at on film.” Not that film will help much. “There’s no excuse for things like that,” Sanchez said. “It killed us. I let the other 10 guys on the field down, I let the 11 guys on defense down. It’s tough. It’s a bad feeling.” Carroll often finds alibis for his quarterbacks, but he didn’t rise to Sanchez’s defense Saturday. “I thought Mark battled all day long,” Carroll said. “He feels terrible about turning the ball over. “The last one he was just, he was just trying too hard … you don’t need to take the ball down low, not go downfield yet. He was a little bit late, he made a bad decision. “He made a bad throw on the other pick … Those things happen.” Sanchez has been open about wanting to keep the No. 1 job at quarterback, which he assumed 15 days ago in a victory over Arizona. He took over for second-year starter John David Booty, who suffered a broken middle finger on his right (passing) hand during the Stanford game. Booty also has been frank about wanting to return to the starting lineup as soon as he is physically up to par. What happens next? Carroll refused even to speculate. “I don’t even care to comment about it,” he said. “We’ll figure it out next week.” Questionable call Carroll was unhappy with a holding call that nullified a 64-yard touchdown run by freshman tailback Joe McKnight in the first quarter of the Trojans’ loss to Oregon. An official flagged offensive tackle Drew Radovich for the penalty, which occurred with Oregon leading, 7-0. “That was the backside tackle, that was (questionable),” Carroll said. Booty wants call Carroll said it was too soon to make a decision on who starts at quarterback but senior John David Booty (broken finger) said he wants to play against Oregon State. “I’ve got to come back,” Booty said. “I want to be out there.” Booty’s passes sailed in practice this week, which made Carroll’s decision easy. “We have to put some drives together,” Booty said. “We keep beating ourselves.” Confused coaches Oregon coach Mike Bellotti gave himself a pat on the back when he said after the victory that USC is “as talented as any football team in the United States.” Bellotti did say the victory was important because “USC has been the flag-bearer for this conference for the last three years.” Actually, USC has won the last five Pacific-10 Conference titles. But Carroll also was confused after the game when he said, “we were tied at halftime and thought we had a good chance to get back into it.” USC trailed Oregon, 10-3, at halftime. Baker hurt Offensive tackle Sam Baker reinjured his hamstring and also experienced pain in his hip. He left the game in the second half and did not return and was unsure if he would play next week.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more