Middle of the pack (cont'd)
Posted: Saturday October 27, 2007 11:27PM; Updated: Saturday October 27, 2007 11:27PM
"I don't know what everyone is expecting Mark or myself to be but we're doing the best we can to help our team win," said Booty, who believes he's healthy enough to reclaim his starting job next week and salvage what's left of the season. "There's 11 guys on the field and if 10 of them do something right and one of them does something wrong it can mess up the whole play. We hate to lose and our head coach hates to lose but it gets hard sometimes and you have to live with what happens. It's so hard to stay on top in this game."
While the game might be viewed as the end of an era, Oregon, which appears to be in the conference's driver's seat heading into its home game next week against Arizona State, didn't seem to care that it ended the Trojans' stranglehold on the Pac-10. As far as the Ducks were concerned the Trojans haven't been anything special for some time now.
"It's not like they have [Matt] Leinart and [Reggie] Bush," said Oregon defensive back Patrick Chung. "That might have made them more intimidating but that doesn't matter anymore. They're another team that we have to play. They're regular players. I bet teams were intimidated in the past but they're a regular team. They're not some super power. Just because they're USC doesn't mean anything."
Oregon, at least for the time being, seems to have taken over USC's former role with an explosive spread offense led by Dennis Dixon, who passed for 157 yards and rushed for 80 and a touchdown, and Jonathan Stewart, who rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Heading into Saturday's game the Ducks were second in the nation in total offense and scoring offense and ranked third and fourth respectively in rushing and passing efficiency.
"Everyone is taking their game to the next level and feeding off our success," Dixon said. "Things are just clicking right now for us."
After the game, Dixon, wearing a light green argyle sweater, was surrounded by a sea of green-and-gold-clad fans, signing autographs on his way outside of the stadium. Sam Baker, USC's All-American offensive tackle, meanwhile, could barely limp away from the nearby visiting locker room on his strained hamstrings, which kept him out of the lineup late in the game. Two players on two teams going in opposite directions.
"I don't think we're going to go in the tank," Baker said. "That's not an option for us. That's the way we've always been here. We're going to go back to work and see where the season takes us, wherever that is."
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