Throwback Thursday: USC vs. Hawaii 2003


In just two days, USC will begin its season when the Trojans storm the Coliseum field and face the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors. USC has taken on Hawai’i a few times before, but none of them were more statement-making than the competition in 2003. USC absolutely pummeled the Warriors, rolling to a3-0 start that season. Let’s revisit that game once again, examining what went right for USC to yield them such a decisive victory.

Much like when Hawai’i will go to battle with the Trojans this coming Saturday, the Warriors didn’t really stand a chance against USC in ’03. The final score said exactly that: SC put up 61 points to Hawaiii’s 32 and Pete Carroll and his fourth-ranked squad had everything go in their favor. That final score only tells a part of the story; USC held a commanding 52-6 lead in the third quarter, before the reserve team came in and the pressure let up.

This was the third game of Reggie Bush’s freshman year, and he and LenDale White each ran for a pair of touchdowns. Matt Leinart added insult to injury when he threw for two more TDs. When the offense wasn’t scoring the defense was: they game Hawai’i QB Timmy Chang (who, as a sophomore, had thrown for 4,474 yards the previous season) absolutely no room to work, coming up with two touchdowns off of pick-sixes and a safety of their own.

For those who lost count, that’s eight touchdowns and one safety.

Interestingly though, Hawai’i out-statted USC in essentially every category. They had 26 first downs to USC’s 21, 462 total yards to 418, and 399 passing yards to 254. Still, USC managed to romp Hawai’i, clearly a testament to the personell mismatch that was present in this game.

This victory marked five consecutive victories over Hawai’i, and ten straight times that the Trojans beat an opponent by 30 or more points, including their 38-17 Rose Bowl Victory over Iowa from the 2002 season.

This time around USC likely will not wax the Warriors as badly as they did in ’03, though Vegas does have the Trojans as the 40-point favorite. When these teams played in 2010, the final score, though in the Trojans favor, left a lot to be desired. Lane Kiffin will face off against his mentor, former USC assistant coach Norm Chow, on Saturday and will undoubtedly emerge the victor once again.

But if the 2012 score ends up being even remotely similar to that of 2003, Trojan fans in LA will have something exciting to talk about once again.