The USC Trojans defeated the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors by a score of 30-13 in Week 1 of the 2013 season. Check out the final grades and box score here.
USC 30, Hawaii 13 (Final)
The full box score is available at NCAA.com.
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Game Analysis for the USC Trojans
It was a split night for both USC quarterbacks.
Kessler looked okay during his playing time in the first half. There obviously will be growing pains, and it showed with the Bakersfield native. He went 10-of-19 passing on the night for 95 yards.
Max Wittek played pretty much the entire second half and performed well. It was apparent that USC looked to stretch the field vertically with Wittek on the field.
Based on tonight, Wittek may have a slight edge. He looked more decisive and has a stronger arm.
The running game absolutely took the contest over in the second half.
Tre Madden had 109 yards on 18 carries and looked solid. Freshman Justin Davis looks like a star in the making. He had 14 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown.
However, the protection of both quarterbacks left a lot to be desired. USC needs to shore up the offensive line before league play begins.
The pass defense was generally good throughout the night. It did help that USC's pass rush was dominant. The secondary intercepted Hawaii quarterback Taylor Graham four times on the night.
However, there were some times when Hawaii receivers were able to get separation down the field, as evidenced by the 60-yard touchdown in the waning seconds of the game.
Depth also is a major issue, as defensive backs Anthony Brown, Dion Bailey and Kevon Seymour all suffered injuries in the contest.
The defensive line absolutely teed off on Graham during this game. A unit led by George Uko, Leonard Williams, Jabari Ruffin and Devon Kennard accounted for eight sacks on the night. The Rainbow Warriors had a total of 20 rushing yards on 31 attempts for the game.
In a word, USC's front seven was dominant.
It was a pretty solid outing for the unit. Kicker Andre Heidari made all three field-goal attempts, including a 52-yard boot to end the first half.
The only blemish came in the form of Marquis Lee. Lee fumbled during a return attempt.
It was a mixed bag of sorts for Lane Kiffin.
The offense was understandably vanilla for the majority of the night. USC was able to run the ball effectively and ultimately wore down Hawaii as the game went on. Play-calling in the red zone wasn't the most imaginative.
Against better competition, USC needs to score touchdowns, as opposed to settling for field goals.
Kiffin did do a good job at getting Kessler confidence. He could have pulled him in the first half but allowed the young quarterback to stay in and gain experience.
1st-Half Analysis for the USC Trojans
Cody Kessler looked very shaky in the early going. It didn't help that his offensive line wasn't protecting well. As the half progressed, he seemed to get more confident.
Marqise Lee surprisingly wasn't utilized much until the latter part of the second quarter. There was seemingly an emphasis on executing plays in the flats and underneath.
Tre Madden, the former linebacker, carried the load for the Trojans. He led the team with 70 yards on 14 carries.
The offensive line did well to open up holes and push the smallish Hawaii defense back. However, both Chad Wheeler and Kevin Graf had trouble protecting Kessler off the edge.
The Trojans had a great half defending the pass. Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast's group had three interceptions in the first half. The secondary also held Hawaii quarterback Taylor Graham to 6-of-20 passing for 57 yards.
The rush defense has been solid throughout the first half. George Uko has been disruptive along the defensive line, tallying two of the five sacks USC had in the first stanza. Hawaii only rushed for 18 yards on 22 carries in the first half.
Kicker Andre Heidari went 2-of-2 on field-goal attempts, including converting on a 52-yard field goal to close out the first half.
Coverage was generally solid, aside from one lengthy return by Hawaii receiver Chris Gant. The grade is substantially lower due to a Marqise Lee fumble on a punt return.
Kiffin had a questionable first half. The play-calling in the red zone was puzzling at times. Kudos should be given to the head coach for sticking with Kessler.
Although the play-calling was conservative in nature, it was geared towards taking the pressure off the young quarterback.
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