Sanchez looking forward

Times Staff Writer

Mark Sanchez’s long weekend finally ended Monday when the USC quarterback got back onto the practice field to prepare for Saturday’s game at Washington State.

Sanchez said he had put behind his four-turnover performance against Arizona State, a game that included a fumble and three interceptions on consecutive third-quarter possessions.

“It was wild and hard to stomach, but I’m glad it’s over and I’m glad we get a chance to learn from it,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez remains the Pacific 10 Conference leader in passing efficiency with a 158.9 rating, but he dropped from seventh to 13th nationally. The junior has completed 64% of his passes and has 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.


Sanchez said the bone bruise in his left knee that forced him to miss a few days of practice last week did not hinder him against Arizona State. He does not plan to make any drastic adjustments this week.

“If it was one of those things where I was turning the wrong way and throwing the ball up for grabs, then I’d take a step back and [say], ‘Man, I wasn’t really ready for that game,’ ” Sanchez said. “But mentally, I was prepared. I watched all the film. I got plenty of reps in practice. It was just an off day.”

Washington State has given up 63 points or more three times this season. But Sanchez said the Trojans would not take the Cougars lightly.

“We saw Penn State beat up on Oregon State and then we go up there and lay an egg,” he said, referring to USC’s 27-21 loss at Corvallis, Ore., last month. “We can’t let that affect us, or let their record or scores of their games change our preparation.”

McKnight injured

Tailback Joe McKnight did not practice because of a toe injury that required him to be fitted with a protective plastic boot on his right foot.

McKnight said he felt pain in his big toe on the final play of his 143-yard rushing effort against Arizona State. He is scheduled for X-rays today.

Asked if the injury would keep him out of Saturday’s game, McKnight said, “I hope not. We’ll find out.”

It is the latest in a series of injuries that have hindered McKnight throughout training camp and the season.

Running backs coach Todd McNair, however, does not expect McKnight to be affected come game time.

“He never misses a game,” McNair said. “He’s out there when he needs to be.”

Washington State woes

Quarterback Marshall Lobbestael, a third-stringer who was starting because of injuries, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Cougars’ 66-13 loss at Oregon State.

Former starter Kevin Lopina could start against USC if he is deemed fully recovered from a broken bone in his back.

Quick kicks

Defensive lineman Fili Moala, who blocked two field-goal attempts against Arizona State, was selected Pacific 10 Conference special teams player of the week. . . . Tailback Stafon Johnson was absent because of illness, Coach Pete Carroll said.