From there, it only got worse for the Irish. “It kept building and we knew we could dominate them,” Mays said. The Trojans (6-1) limited Notre Dame to 165 yards of offense but did a better job containing themselves after the game from saying what they really thought of the Irish. “(Weis) didn’t even seem like he was trying today,” one member of the program said. The Notre Dame players put in about three quarters before getting tired of it all, and by that time, some Irish fans were long gone. The players were also turning on each other. “In the third quarter, they started to yell at each other,” USC center Matt Spanos said. “It was their frustration.” The crowd’s loudest cheer came in the fourth quarter when Notre Dame (1-7) got a first down, its first of the second half. No USC team had ever defeated Notre Dame by 38 points and Saturday’s lopsided outcome made the 2005 thriller seem like it was played 10 years ago. But considering USC lost to 41-point underdog Stanford two weeks ago, a glorified scrimmage is exactly what the Trojans needed after ugly performances against Washington, the Cardinal and Arizona. “We feel like we’re regaining our momentum,” USC coach Pete Carroll said. “We got whacked pretty good there for a while. This could be very pivotal for us.” At least now Carroll knows he can rely on sophomore quarterback Mark Sanchez as a quality backup the rest of the season. Sanchez passed for four touchdowns and completed 21 of 38 passes for 235 yards with no interceptions. “I promised myself before the game, no interceptions,” Sanchez said. “I was calm. I got the jitters out last week.” Sanchez, who carefully selects his words, let his guard down and admitted he wants to start this week’s game against Oregon. “I can’t influence (the coaches) any more than I did today,” Sanchez said. “I don’t want to let it go. I don’t know what’s going on. Hopefully it works out.” USC coach Pete Carroll made it clear after the game John David Booty remained the starter, but he said Booty must be 100 percent to play. Booty sat on a stool in the USC locker room with a swollen middle finger. “He’s our starter,” Carroll said. “He’s been our starter all year long. But the right thing to do is get him healthy. That’s a four-to-six week injury for some people. I don’t think the finger’s going to be healed (this week). “Obviously the team doesn’t worry about it. They don’t care.” But Booty cared. “If you ask me, yeah I do (think I should start),” Booty said. The senior said he hoped to be ready for this week’s game. “I’m getting a lot closer,” he said. “I’ve almost got full range in my finger.” USC fans will no doubt crown Sanchez the quarterback for the season, but coaches use different standards and the pathetic nature of the opponent will be factored into any evaluation. “You always look at the film and the style of the team,” offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian said diplomatically. The Irish secondary was so lost, USC receivers often seemed to be alone on the field. It was such a leisurely day that Sanchez showed more concern over the disappearance of his game towel than about anything he did on the field. And when the Irish were near a receiver, they didn’t always tackle them. USC wide receiver Vidal Hazelton caught a 48-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter when he repeatedly bounced off defenders and kept running downfield. “I was kind of surprised, but I had the mentality that I’m not going down,” Hazelton said. For good measure, USC tailback Joe McKnight capped the game with a 51-yard touchdown run. At that point, the fans could have turned on Weis, but didn’t. They probably expected what they got after watching three previous home losses this season. “I’ll gladly take the hits for our program, but USC is a good football team … we’re at different ends of the spectrum at this point,” Weis said. “They are where we want to be. And I will work till the ends of the earth until that ends up happening.” Afterward, Notre Dame fans chanted an expletive followed by Carroll’s name as the coach came off the field. Apparently, they gave up the chant for Charlie Weis long ago. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! COLLEGE FOOTBALL: USC’s rout might say more about Notre Dame’s futility, but it is still savored. By Scott Wolf STAFF WRITER SOUTH BEND, Ind. – USC found a nice, quiet place to regroup from its midseason slump, as Notre Dame Stadium provided more than 80,000 hospitable fans for the Trojans to take out their frustrations. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.The 13th-ranked Trojans strolled to a 38-0 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday, a score that said a lot more about the Irish than USC. Notre Dame’s beleaguered fans were too beaten down to even boo the Irish’s farcical play. This might be a hallowed site for football, but Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis mailed in his game plan with a basic offense that never challenged the Trojans. “We started to realize they couldn’t do anything against us,” USC safety Taylor Mays said. When did USC notice this? “The first drive,” Mays said.