Booty plays despite fracture

Times Staff Writers

USC quarterback John David Booty suffered a fractured finger on his throwing hand during Saturday night’s 24-23 loss to Stanford, setting up a potentially delicate decision for USC coaches this week.

Booty, who threw four intercepted passes, said he was injured midway the second quarter when his finger hit another player’s helmet after he completed a 31-yard pass to Patrick Turner that set up USC’s first touchdown.

Booty played the rest of the game and finished having completed 24 of 40 passes for 364 yards and two touchdowns.

“We could have made a change but we went with our guy,” Coach Pete Carroll said.


Booty said coaches asked him if he was OK.

“I want to compete. I want to fight. No way I was coming out of that game,” he said. “Look at [Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett] Favre, look at those guys, they don’t hardly ever play healthy so it’s one thing you have to deal with.”

Third-year sophomore Mark Sanchez did not play against the Cardinal, but he will probably get some first-team snaps in practice this week as Booty’s condition is evaluated.

“I’m playing,” Booty said. “I don’t know what we’re going to have to do to it. . . . It’s my plan to play and start every game.”

Fans booed the Trojans as they left the field at halftime and early in the third quarter as the offense struggled.

“Believe me, inside I was booing too. I was as frustrated as they were,” Booty said.

Turner caught nine passes for 83 yards, but he also dropped several.

Asked what was problematic, Turner said, “I don’t know.”

Tight end Fred Davis caught five passes for a career-best 152 yards and a touchdown. Davis eclipsed his previous best of 124 yards set against Washington State on Sept. 22.

USC redshirt freshman Zack Heberer started for the first time, replacing injured Chilo Rachal at right guard.

Rachal suffered a sprained knee last week against Washington on the same play that center Kris O’Dowd suffered a torn knee ligament.

Rachal is expected to miss at least two weeks. O’Dowd had surgery on Tuesday and hopes to return by the Oct. 20 game at Notre Dame. Senior Matt Spanos started at center.

Cornerback Cary Harris, who was questionable because of a sore right shoulder, returned to the starting lineup after missing the Washington game.

The halftime show featured the Stanford and USC bands trading insults with their performances.

Stanford’s program included slaps at Cal State Northridge, UC Riverside, UCLA, California and USC.

USC’s band, with help from alumni, then re-enacted “The Play” that ended the Stanford-California game in 1982.

Stanford’s win over USC is its first over a No. 1-ranked team since the Cardinal beat Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., 36-31, on Oct. 6, 1990. This was also Stanford’s first win over a top-five team since it beat Texas, 27-24, at Stanford Stadium on Sept. 26, 2000.

Stanford’s junior defensive end, Pannel Egboh, had his first career blocked kick when he swatted away David Buehler’s extra point attempt in the second quarter. Egboh, 6 feet 6 and 275 pounds, also had a career-high 10 tackles. He tied his career high with 2.5 tackles for loss.

Tavita Pritchard, the emergency starting quarterback for Stanford, was frantically dialing a cell phone after the game. He was trying to call his father, David, who had been a starting center for Washington State and who played in the 1981 Holiday Bowl.

“I haven’t been able to get through to my dad,” Pritchard said. “This win is for him. I’m beside myself. I don’t know what to do.”

Pritchard’s uncle also had some football success at Washington State -- his uncle is Jack Thompson, known as “The Throwin’ Samoan.”

“I think he’d be excited for me too,” Pritchard said.