It didn’t take long for the No. 1-ranked USC Trojans to make their presence felt in today’s season-opening football game with the University of Hawaii in front of a capacity Coliseum crowd of 93,607 in Los Angeles as the Trojans won 49-10.
Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Barkley threw a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the game to wide receiver Marqise Lee, who made a big move on UH cornerback Tony Grimes and then raced 65 yards untouched up the left sideline to make it 7-0 just 14 seconds into the game. Andre Heidari added the PAT.
After two unsuccessful offensive series, Hawaii backed up USC to its own 1-yard line. Two pass interference calls on Grimes gave the Trojans first and 10 at their own 25. From there, they mixed pass with run to move steadily down the field before hitting Lee with a 41-yard pass completion. He once again beat Grimes to give USC another first down, this time at the UH 18.
Three plays later on third and 12, Barkley floated a beautiful pass to wideout Robert Woods for 20 yards and the score. He beat UH freshman Ne’Quan Phillips on the play. Heidari added the PAT to make it 14-0 with 5:33 left in the first. The drive went 99 yards on eight plays.
USC extended the lead to 20-0 with 3:12 left in the first on a 27-yard interception return by Hayes Pullard off a tipped pass of UH quarterback Sean Schroeder. The try for 2 failed.
Hawaii turned it over on the ensuing series on a fumble by Joey Iosefa. The Trojans set up shop at UH’s 30. Barkley completed a 31-yard pass to Xavier Grimble as the opening quarter ended.
USC drove to the Hawaii 31, setting up a fourth and 1. The Trojans went for it and made good on the risk as Penn State transfer running back Silas Redd broke through the middle of the line and went in for the score. In the first, Redd had a fumble and was pulled from the game. It was his first touch after that mistake. The try for 2 failed. USC led 26-0 with 13:31 left in the half.
The Trojans kept building on their advantage with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Barkley to Woods. Once again, the try for 2 failed, giving USC a 32-0 advantage with 5 minutes left in the half.
A fumble by Schroeder — his second turnover of the half — set up the Trojans at the Hawaii 40 with only 15 seconds left before intermission. Plenty of time for Barkley, who completed a 29-yard pass to Lee, giving USC a first and 10 at the 11 with 8 seconds left. UH held, leading to a 28-yard field goal by Heidari to make it 35-0 at the half.
Hawaii took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched 69 yards on 12 plays to cut the USC lead to 35-7 with 10:11 left in the third quarter. The scoring play was a 19-yard touchdown pass from Schroeder to Scott Harding, with Tyler Hadden adding the PAT. Harding was an all-everything guy in the game. He held for PATs, punted and returned kicks.
USC responded with a 100-yard kickoff return by Lee. Heidari added the PAT to make it 42-7 USC with 10 minutes left in the third. Hawaii added a 35-yard field goal by Hadden with 5:30 left in the third. It was the second consecutive scoring drive for the Warriors, who won the third, 10-7.
The Trojans finally got an offensive possession and used the rest of the third quarter and the early part of the fourth to score again, this time on a fourth and 3 from Barkley to tight end Randall Telfer from 11 yards out. Heidari added the PAT to make it 49-10 USC with 12:58 left in the game. It was a 14-play, 80-yard drive and was Barkley’s fourth touchdown pass of the game. He hit 23 of 38 passes for 347 yards.