The University of Southern California began the Lane Kiffin era (or perhaps the post-Pete Carroll era) with a less than impressive 49-36 win over the Warriors of Hawaii.
The game was never in doubt as sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley led the Trojans on touchdown drives four out of their first five possessions. Barkley threw for 257 yards and tied a school record with five touchdown passes in the win.
Marc Tyler, junior running back, carried the ball 17 times and gained 154 yards and scored one touchdown. Ronald Johnson was Barkley’s favorite receiver as the duo hooked up seven times for 59 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson also added an 89-yard punt return in the third quarter for his third touchdown on the day.
Barkley told reporters before the game that even if the Trojans were unable to play for a National Championship this seasons due to NCAA sanctions, they could still play championship caliber football throughout the season. However, as Barkley’s offense looked like champions the Trojan defense looked dazed and confused giving up 588 yards to Hawaii’s Run-and-Gun offense.
- As a whole, the Trojans’ skilled positions could be the best in the country; Barkley, Tyler, Allen Bradford, Stanley Havili, Johnson and David Ausberry. USC has the weapons to keep them in just about every game.
- The offensive line for the Trojans has some serious nasty about them. They are big, quick, physical and willing to do the dirty work. If they stay healthy, depth is an issue, they will anchor an elite offense built around keeping their quarterback clean.
- The maturation of Barkley from last year to this year is mind-boggling. Kiffin has opened up the playbook and Barkley is more than capable of hitting every throw. Barkley looks like he has dropped some extra weight and is poised to have a standout year as the leader of the Trojans
- The Trojans struggled with penalties last year and it looks like they are picking up where they left off. On Thursday, the Trojans committed 11 penalties for 100 yards as they killed their own drives and extended the Warrior’s drives. If the Trojans want to compete for the Pac-10 crown they must clean up the stupid penalties.
- Giving up 588 yards to Hawaii is surely causing great pain and sleepless nights to defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron. USC struggled last year with spread offenses with mobile quarterbacks and it looks like they still haven’t solved the problem.
- It was Hawaii. If the Trojans struggled with the Warriors as they did, what will happen when they begin the Pac-10 conference and have to play Stanford, Cal, Washington, the Oregons and even UCLA?
- Offense: A (Barkley is the real deal.)
- Defense: D- (They did enough to win.)
- Special Teams: INC (Didn’t see enough but hated the chasing of points via the 2-point conversion attempts.)
- Coaching: B- (Lane did well, but his other coaches seemed to struggle.)
The Trojans' will play their home opener against the Virginia Cavaliers on Sept. 11, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.