USC looks to put last season behind them with win at Hawaii
NCAA football begins Thursday night with a myriad of different games on the schedule. One game not to miss if you like high scoring aerial games is the USC Trojans visiting the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.
The Trojans were a disappointment last season after starting the season the No. 1 ranked team and ending with a record of 7-6. This season they come in ranked No. 24 in the nation. USC will be attempting to win its 16th straight opening game of the season. USC has never lost to Hawaii.
The Trojans have the best wide receiver in the Pac-12 and quite possibly the best in the nation in Marqise Lee. Last season Lee caught 118 passes for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was the lone bright spot in a very dismal season for the Trojans.
Matt Barkley the Trojans starting quarterback of last season has moved on to the NFL and USC will have to rely on two unknowns Cody Kessler and Max Wittek. Both are sophomores and both should play in the season opener tonight.
Wittek started the last two games of the season for the injured Barkley but had a passing rating of only 82. He completed just 28 of his 60 passes for only 293 yards. Against Notre Dame in a 22-13 loss, Wittek threw one touchdown by had two picks. He then threw three interceptions in their loss to Georgia Tech to end the season.
Kessler only saw action last season in USC’s rout of Colorado 50-6. In that game, he completed two passes for just nine yards when the game was already decided.
USC also saw T.J. McDonald their safety and Robert Woods another wide receiver enter the NFL. The Trojans are counting on Silas Redd, their returning tailback to step up. Last season he was eighth overall in the Pac-12 in rushing averaging 75 yards per game.
USC hopes to start the season strong against the Warriors whom they took care of easily at home last season 49-10, also in the season opener. That win gave USC an 8-0 SU record in their 8 career head-to-head games versus Hawaii.
Last season, Hawaii was just 3-9 in Norm Chow’s first season as head coach. Sean Schroeder will return for the Warriors as the starting quarterback. Last season he threw for 1,878 yards. He tossed 11 touchdown passes and had 12 interceptions.
Hawaii had problems protecting Schroeder as he was sacked 35 times, which was a Mountain West high. Chow was the offensive coordinator at USC for four seasons between 2001 and 2004. He is expected to run the team’s offense after Aaron Price, the offensive coordinator was relieved of his duties in early August.
Hawaii has not fared well against ranked teams. The Warriors have lost 16 out of its past 19 games, including all nine games against ranked teams outside the conference.
The Trojans are favored by 22.5 points with the point total sitting on 58. I like the Warriors and the points. USC must win by four scores and that is hard to do on the road with a new quarterback. Take Hawaii and the OVER.