USC vs. Hawaii: Halftime Report, Trojans Lead 35-0


Sep 1, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley (7) takes the snap against the Hawaii Warriors at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

USC welcomed Hawai’i to the Coliseum by quickly opening up a 35-0 lead on the Warriors. They came out firing on all cylinders, with Matt Barkley showing off his weapons on the very first offensive play.

Here’s what we have from the first half of action from the Trojans’ season opener:

Hawaii elected to give USC the ball to start the game, and immediately they were punished for it: On the first offensive play of the game, Barkley connected with Marqise Lee who then burned Hawaii’s defense for 75 yards and a touchdown. And he did it all in about eight seconds. Definitely the kind of start that the Trojans wanted for this game.

While USC’s passing game has been on fire, the running game once again leaves a lot to be desired. Three of USC’s four offensive TDs came through the air, and we have only seen glimpses of Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal. Early in the second quarter, Redd was on a huge run when a Hawaii player punched the ball out of his arm for a turnover, but shortly after he redeemed himself with a 31-yard touchdown run. Beyond that the Trojan running backs have hardly made an impact in this game, with only 45 rushing yards out of 328 yards of total offense.

Monte Kiffin’s defense was really switched up in this half, with the Trojans getting the most out of the two deep, especially on the defense line.

Junior College transfer DE Morgan Breslin has been one of the defensive stars of the game: he was a key part of a fumble recovery in the first quarter, and has been solid at containing the Warriors at the line of scrimmage.

As a matter of fact, the entire defensive line has been a lot better than anticipated. With two redshirt freshmen and a true freshman, we didn’t really know what to expect from them, but so far, they have delivered: True FR DE Leonard Williams had a hard block that (along with CB Nickell Robey’s deflection) guaranteed a pick-six for LB Hayes Pullard, and RS FR DE Greg Townsend recorded his first career sack early in the second quarter.

USC has been using young players liberally, and though they have missed a few tackles here and there, they have made no major mistakes. True freshmen LB Scott Starr, WR Nelson Agholor, the previously mentioned Williams, and CB Kevon Seymour have all got playing time. Seymour even made a big stop in the middle of the second quarter that prevented a Hawaii conversion on downs.

Beyond the young players, some of the older guys we rarely get to see got some playing time as well: safeties RS SR Drew McCallister, RS JR Demetrius Wright, RS JR DE Kevin Greene, and RS JR WR De’Von Flournoy, to name a few.

As imposing and solid as they have been, the Trojans have recorded six penalties for 60 yards all of which coming from carelessness. SC really needs to work on limiting those–as well as establishing a running game–when they return for the second half.