USC 49 Hawaii 10
Trojans’ offense flexes its muscle early with 49 points in the season opener
By Gary Montgomery
Los Angeles – The 2012 USC Trojan football season is without a doubt one of the most highly anticipated seasons in the last five years for USC football fans. Not since the days of Marcus Allen and Charles White has there been so much to be excited about.
USC returns with one of the most talented offensive units in the country led by a four-year starter at quarterback who came in 6th in the Heisman balloting last season. Just having a four-year starter at the helm is exciting in itself but when you add two 1000-yard receivers in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee that nobody in the conference could cover last season you have something really special.
Barkley and Lee wasted no time in giving the 93,607 Trojan fans what they came to see. On the first play from scrimmage Barkley flipped a short pass to Lee who slipped a defender and raced 75-yards for USC’s first touchdown. Saturday’s season opener also included a tribute to the late Junior Seau who took his own life in May. Junior’s parents and his children gathered on the Coliseum grass during a timeout for a tearful ceremony.
Also, adding to the excitement, USC former offensive coordinator, Norm Chow made his head coaching debut with Hawaii. Chow was the Trojans Offensive coordinator from 2001 to 2005 where he helped Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart each win Heisman trophies. Ironically, when Chow left USC for Nashville and a chance to coach rookie quarterback Vince Young his replacement was none other than Lane Kiffin. Chows return was definitely not as amicable as he would have liked. The Warriors remained winless against the Trojans and advanced their head to head record to 0-8 lifetime against USC. USC’s overall offensive performance was not far off last year’s pace but not flawless. Certainly nothing like the season ending barrage they unleashed against UCLA. “I would give us a grade of ‘C’,” said wide receiver Robert Woods when asked about his team’s performance. “We did some good things tonight but overall it was not our best performance and we will play much better,” continued Woods.
Woods tough critique of his team’s performance was based on several obvious rough spots during the game. Normally sure handed Marqise Lee had a couple of drops on easy attempts. “It’s frustrating; you practice these things over and over every day. When you do that you expect to make those plays in the game and when you don’t it’s frustrating,” said Lee. Barkley threw for 372-yards, Marqise Lee had 10 catches for 197-yards but Woods was held to only 42-yards receiving. Although he caught two touchdowns, the Hawaii defense was able to take away one of USC’s big guns.
The other concern for USC should be the running game. The trio of Silas Redd, D.J. Morgan and Curtis McNeal only produced 98 total rushing yards. The Trojans will likely need a more balanced attack at some point in the season. The defense’s performance was solid but will need a better opponent to determine its level of improvement.
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