Rapid Reaction: No. 1 USC 49, Hawaii 10
September, 1, 2012
By Pedro Moura | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 1-ranked USC Trojans smacked visiting Hawaii 49-10 in their season opener at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on Saturday. Heisman-candidate quarterback Matt Barkley threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Trojans.
How it happened: USC scored on its first play from scrimmage and never even started to look back.
Receiver Marqise Lee took a short pass 75 yards for a score on that play. He would pick up many more by the time the day was over, finishing with 10 catches for 197 yards and a touchdown, plus a 100-yard kickoff return.
Robert Woods had only six catches for 42 yards and two scores but was also the victim of a number of pass-interference calls from the Hawaii defensive backs.
What it means: It doesn't mean much, because of the opponent, but these Trojans are clearly a lot better than the team that barely squeaked by Minnesota in the 2011 season opener.
The defense doesn't appear to be elite -- yet -- but the offense has so many weapons available to Barkley that it's a little bit ridiculous. Curtis McNeal, one of the best running backs in the country in the final month of last season, got only five carries (for 10 yards) against Hawaii on Saturday.
Coach Lane Kiffin hasn't changed, either. He still called for three two-point conversions, even though they all failed. He's sure to get flak for that in the coming days.
What's next: USC travels east to play Syracuse at neutral-site MetLife Stadium on Sept. 8 at 12:30 p.m. ET.