USC starts Cody Kessler at QB

Updated: August 30, 2013, 11:32 AM ET
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com

HONOLULU -- Cody Kessler started at quarterback for USC in Thursday night's opener against Hawaii, which the Trojans won 30-13.

Kessler was battling Max Wittek for the starting job during fall camp, but USC coach Lane Kiffin said he had not decided on a starter heading into the season and would play both quarterbacks during the season opener.

"That really is how well both guys did," Kiffin said. "For us, we look at it as a great thing. We've got two guys that we feel great about. We don't feel like we have to limit our offense with either one of them in there."

Thursday night was Kessler's first collegiate start. He played the entire first half and the first drive of the second, completing 10 of 19 passes for 95 yards, with an interception and a touchdown pass.

Wittek entered the game early in the third quarter. He failed to earn a first down on his first drive, then spent most of the second half handing off to running back Justin Davis. Wittek completed 5 of 10 passes for 77 yards.

Kessler was 2-for-2 last season for 9 yards. Wittek started the final two games of last season for USC after Matt Barkley was injured against UCLA. He went 36-for-69 for 388 yards with three touchdowns and five interceptions. USC lost both of his starts, against Notre Dame and against Georgia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.

USC athletic director Pat Haden told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Tuesday that USC could be rotating quarterbacks the first two weeks of the season but likely would choose a starting quarterback for the rest of the season after that.

"I don't think this is going to be a thing for the season," Haden said. "This is going to be decided here perhaps the first week, maybe the second week."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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