Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

USC vs. Hawaii: Trojans defeat Rainbow Warriors 30-13, But Leave Much to be Desired


Despite reverting back to the traditional combination of white socks with black cleats, the USC Trojans’ 2013 season got off to an unceremonious start as they defeated the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 30-13 Thursday evening.

Cody Kessler earned his first career start, though the majority of his time spent on the field he appeared to be a quarterback who was named the starter by default and not based off merit.

The Trojans didn’t score their first touchdown until 4:18 was remaining in the second quarter when Kessler completed a perfectly placed touch-pass to Nelson Agholor in the corner of the end zone, giving the Trojans a 10-5 lead.

Kessler finished with 95 yards on 10-of-19, with one touchdown and one interception, and played one series into the second half before being pulled in favor of Max Wittek. The change at quarterback initially failed to improve the offensive production, as Wittek’s first two drives stalled with consecutive three-and outs.

It was a rough night for the Trojan offense the majority of the evening as they struggled to generate any sort of sustained momentum for much of the game. In particular, wide receiver Marqise Lee was not his normal self, managing to pull down eight receptions for 104 yards, but he also fumbled a punt return and dropped multiple passes.

With Silas Redd not making the trip due to injury, Tre Madden and Justin Davis formed the one-two punch for the Trojans on the ground, combining for 183 rushing yards. Madden carried the ball 18 times for 109 yards and Davis ran 14 times for 74 yards, including the Trojans’ lone rushing touchdown.

It should be noted the bulk of the success on the ground came late in the game when the Rainbows appeared to be gassed and going through the motions defensively. Outside of the late rushing yardage picked up, the offensive line struggled to consistently play well.

Fortunately for the Trojans, the defense came to play from the outset and Clancy Pendergast’s much ballyhooed defense unveiled itself with a fury. The first play of the game resulted in a sack by Devon Kennard, which was a sign of things to come from the redshirt senior linebacker.

Playing without the services of Morgan Breslin, the Trojan defense didn’t miss a beat, recording four interceptions and seven sacks. However, cornerbacks Kevon Seymour and Anthony Brown were unable to make it past the first two quarters of the season, each leaving with unspecified injuries to their lower body.

As is typically the case with opening games of the season, there were numerous facets of the game the Trojans must improve on if they hope to have a successful season. For now, they are 1-0 and Trojan fans continue to wait for Lane Kiffin’s decision on a starting quarterback moving forward.

Tags: Cody Kessler Devon Kennard Football Justin Davis Max Wittek Tre Madden USC USC Trojans

  • disqus_5mzWKSTg3O

    The offensive line looks about as soft as they did last year.
    Why are 6’6″, 280 guys trying to block by going at guys knees? They need to drive their man into the ground on every play.
    I was expecting the big and uglies to come out and play big and ugly

  • Little

    Nice insight. I had my speculations with the line after they were having so many problems in fall scrimmages. So that didn’t surprise me. But that QB play. There shouldn’t have been any reason why Agholor and Lee didn’t finish with over 100 yards each. Even though they both dropped deep passes. We only tried to go deep like 5 times the entire game. Not a good look.

  • Rave on!

    After last night’s game, I can’t decide either on who should be our starting QB. I think Wittek should play the first half next game.

    • http://fansided.com/ Michael Castillo

      It’s going to be such a tough decision, and I don’t think anyone could decide on those two emphatically. Kessler moved the ball on a couple of drives when he had good play calling, though Wittek looked more confident with a better run game to lean on. Hard to tell what was play calling, scheme or quarterback prowess.

  • lcaldwell

    USC running game will look much better once Silas Redd is back. People forget that we just traveled to Hawaii with 2 new QB’s and new RB’s. The positives are that Hawaii was never in the game due to smothering defense. Not many teams keep throwing deep after 4INT. Norm Chow was just trying anything at the end to cover the spread!

    • disqus_5mzWKSTg3O

      I don’t think it’s the RBs. The OL looked soft at times. I didn’t see anyone driving their man into the ground, no extra pushing at the end of plays, and a lot oof missed assignments.
      For having 2 OL coaches, they look like they had 1.

      Plenty of time to improve though..

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