|Injuries hit the Pac-10's QBs; Brink heads home|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 10 October 2007 10:35|
The starting quarterbacks from USC, UCLA and Stanford have all been injured. And for USC and Stanford, the QBs played a key role in one of the most shocking upsets of a season filled with them.
For the Trojans, QB John David Booty broke the middle finger on his throwing hand in the second quarter of last Saturday's game. He passed for 364 yards against the Cardinal, but was intercepted four times in the second half and USC lost 24-23.
Coach Pete Carroll said Booty's finger was still swollen on Tuesday, and that backup Mark Sanchez, a redshirt sophomore, working with the starting unit.
USC (4-1, 2-1 Pacific-10 Conference) fell to No. 10 from No. 2 with the loss. The Trojans host Arizona (2-4, 1-2) on Saturday.
Sanchez was excited.
``If anybody's ready for this, I think I am. I haven't done this many interviews since high school. I'm cherishing the moment. It's a matter of taking the keys to this awesome sports car we have and not crashing,'' he said.
On Stanford's side, sophomore Tavita Pritchard had a daunting task against the Trojans, stepping in for senior starter T.C. Ostrander, who suffered a seizure the day after the previous game.
Pritchard performed more than admirably in his first start, with two unbelievable plays on the game-winning drive.
On fourth-and-20 on the USC 29, Pritchard misunderstood the play call and found Richard Sherman with a 20-yard completion. On the game-winner, Pritchard was supposed to throw to Evan Moore, but instead spotted Mark Bradford open and hit him with a 10-yard scoring pass with 49 seconds left.
First-year Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said he was standing about five feet from Pritchard and screaming the play call. In the din of Memorial Coliseum, Pritchard thought he called a different, but similar sounding play and hurled the ball to Sherman.
``I think I liked his version better,'' Harbaugh mused.
Now Stanford has a dilemma.
The coach said Pritchard would start on Saturday when Stanford (2-3, 1-3) hosts TCU. Ostrander has been cleared to play and has rejoined practice.
At UCLA, the quarterback question appears dire.
Ben Olson will be sidelined three to four weeks with a partial tear of the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee.
Olson went down in the first quarter of the Bruins' 20-6 loss to Notre Dame last weekend.
Patrick Cowan, Olson's backup, was held out of the game against the Fighting Irish with a knee injury, but practiced Tuesday ``on a limited basis,'' coach Karl Dorrell said.
The Bruins continue to prepare walk-on McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who had never played in a game before he was pressed into service against Notre Dame. They also think they won't be able to redshirt Chris Forcier as planned, Dorrell said.
And Osaar Rasshan, who was moved this summer to receiver, will also take practice snaps, Dorrell said.
UCLA has the week off before hosting No. 2 California on Oct. 20.
``This was a good week to have a bye,'' Dorrell said.
COMING HOME ON THE OTHER SIDE: Because of quirky scheduling, Washington State quarterback Alex Brink has never played in his hometown.
That changes Saturday when the Cougars (2-4, 0-3 Pac-10) visit No. 9 Oregon (4-1, 1-1) at Autzen Stadium.
Brink grew up in Eugene and led Sheldon High to a state championship.
Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said the school did take a look at Brink - who played in high school with Bellotti's son Luke, but they already were set on three other quarterbacks in the recruiting class, including Dennis Dixon and backup Brady Leaf.
``Alex was not as developed at the time - physically - as those other players,'' Bellotti said.
The Cougars were coming off a 23-20 loss to Arizona State. Brink became the all-time WSU career leader in passing yardage 8,923 yards in the loss. Jason Gesser had the previous record with 8,830.
Washington State upset then-No. 16 Oregon 34-23 last year in Pullman.
The Ducks had a bye last weekend after losing to California 31-24 the week before.
HONORS: Stanford wide receiver Mark Bradford and defensive end Pannel Egboh, as well as Arizona kicker Thomas Weber, were named the league's players of the week.
Bradford caught a touchdown pass from 10 yards out with 49 seconds left in Stanford's 24-23 upset of USC. He had five catches for 87 yards in the game.
Egboh had 10 tackles, six solo, and 1.5 quarterback sacks (-11). He blocked a Trojan point-after attempt. Stanford's defense intercepted USC quarterback John David Booty four times and sacked him four times.
Weber was honored on special teams for the second straight week for kicking the game-winning 37-yard field goal in Arizona State's 23-20 victory at Washington State.
He also had four of his five kickoffs go for touchbacks, and, punting for the first time at ASU, averaging 41.5 yards on six punts.
BRADFORD'S LOSS: While there was joy in Stanford's upset of the Trojans last weekend, for receiver Mark Bradford there was also sadness.
In the week leading up to the game, Bradford had buried his father, Mark Sr., who had died suddenly of a heart attack at age 48.
Bradford, who turned 23 on Sunday, is from the Los Angeles area. He caught the game-winning TD with 49 seconds left to play, ending the Trojans' 35-game home winning streak with a 24-23 Stanford victory.
``This was a game that I dedicated to him. I just went to his funeral on Tuesday, so this for me is such a great win because it was down in L.A. at a school that when I was getting recruited in high school, it was one of my dad's favorite schools and one of the schools that he wanted me to go to,'' Bradford said.