USC vs. Hawaii: Recap of Trojans' 49-36 victory
USC 49, Hawaii 36 (final)
Lane Kiffin got a victory in his first game as USC coach.
But his father, Monte, the team's defensive coordinator? Well, he has his work cut out.
Hawaii gained 588 yards Thursday night, including 459 passing against a USC secondary that couldn't cover or tackle anybody.
Fortunately for the Trojans, they had Matt Barkley and Ronald Johnson on offense.
Barkley completed 18 of 23 passes for 257 yards and five touchdowns, including three to Johnson, who also scored on an 89-yard punt return.
USC had 525 yards in offense, including 154 rushing yards and a touchdown in 17 carries from Marc Tyler.
Hawaii, despite playing much of the second half with second- and third-team quarterbacks, gained more yards against the Trojans than any team since Oregon gained 613 at Eugene last October.
USC 49, Hawaii 36 (3:52 left in fourth quarter)
USC's offense needs to slow down a little.
The Trojans' ability to score so quickly is leaving USC's defense exposed. And it's not a pretty sight.
Hawaii receiver Kealoha Pilares now has three touchdown receptions, the latest from 30 yards out.
Pilares has also scored from 56 and 65 yards out. He has five catches for 176 yards -- an average of better than 35 yards a reception.
USC 49, Hawaii 30 (midway through fourth quarter)
The trend continues.
Hawaii musters up some hope...
And the USC offense crushes those hopes.
This time running back Marc Tyler did the honors, breaking away on a 44-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage after the Trojans covered an onside kick.
Tyler, a junior who has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons, has 154 yards in 17 carries.
USC 42, Hawaii 30 (midway through fourth quarter)
It's pretty late here on the Pacific Coast, but if there are any Pacific-10 Conference quarterbacks still awake, they are surely licking their chops.
Hawaii just pulled back within striking distance, scoring on the arm of a third-string quarterback.
Shane Austin, a junior from Ventura County's Rio Mesa High, connected with a wide open Kealoha Pilares for a 65-yard touchdown.
Pilares beat linebacker Michael Morgan and safety Marshall Jones.
Austin made a nice throw, too.
But he's no Jake Locker, or Andrew Luck, or...
USC 42, Hawaii 23 (end of third quarter)
Hawaii is moving the ball on USC -- passing and running -- but the Warriors' defense just can't do anything to slow down Trojans receiver Ronald Johnson.
Johnson has four touchdowns -- three receiving and one on a punt return.
A trend has developed.
(1) USC pulls away. (2) Hawaii scores and seems on the cusp of mounting a serious threat. (3) USC (usually Johnson) comes right back and scores.
Hawaii had no sooner pulled to within 11 points and the Trojans turned around and scored in four plays:
Matt Barkley to Johnson for a 15-yard gain.
Barkley to fullback Stanley Havili for 49 yards.
A 12-yard run by Marc Tyler.
A three-yard pass from Barkley to Johnson for the TD.
Then backup quarterback Mitch Mustain scored on a run for a two-point conversion and all was well in Trojans land again.
Until, of course, Hawaii gets the ball again.
USC 34, Hawaii 23 (late third quarter)
Much was said about USC's inexperienced secondary facing a high-powered run-and-shoot offense in the first game.
But that's not the only way Hawaii has been able to move the ball tonight against USC.
The Warriors just scored on a one-yard run by Alex Green with less than two minutes left in the third quarter, capping a drive in which Hawaii gained 74 of its 84 yards on the ground.
Green's run came two plays after USC linebacker Mike Morgan flattened Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz, knocking him out of the game.
Moniz has played well, so we'll see if his absence finally slows the Warriors offense.
USC 34, Hawaii 16 (midway through third quarter)
Ronald Johnson is making up for lost time.
The USC senior missed last year's opener -- and four other games -- because of a broken collarbone.
But he has three touchdowns tonight -- the last after he broke three tackles and said aloha to everyone on an 89-yard punt return sprint.
Johnson also has two touchdowns receiving, looking a lot like an All-American.
Coach Lane Kiffin might also want to consider playing him on defense.
USC 27, Hawaii 16 (halftime)
We have a good, old-fashioned shootout in paradise to start the local college football season.
We also have the kind of game that makes you want to shield a young player's eyes: Don't watch, Junior. This is not how you want to play the game!
Plenty of mistakes by both sides -- mental and physical -- are creating plenty of, uh, teachable moments.
And also plenty of excitement.
For example, USC scored on a 13-yard pass from Matt Barkley to Ronald Johnson to open up a 27-13 lead with 1 minute 6 seconds left in the first half -- which was too much time left on the clock to shut down Hawaii.
The Warriors came right back, taking over at their own 20 and driving to the USC 1 -- or maybe deeper than that -- before settling for an 18-yard field goal by Scott Enos.
USC was lucky it gave up only the three points.
With 12 seconds left, Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz connected with slot back Greg Salas on a pass that could have been ruled a touchdown.
Salas caught the ball at the USC 6, broke a tackle try by Trojans freshman Nickell Robey, landed on linebacker Malcolm Smith as he spun away, and landed in the end zone. Unfortunately for Hawaii, the game officials ruled that Salas, a senior from Chino High, was down just inside the one-yard line even though television replays indicated otherwise.
That was a big break for USC -- which gave Hawaii a few breaks on the drive with a late hit by tackle Jurrell Casey and a pass interference penalty by safety Jawanza Starling (his second of the game to go with at least one really obvious missed tackle).
Whew. Bad football, guys. Bad football!
First-year USC Coach Lane Kiffin surely wasn't overstating things when during a halftime interview he said he was "embarrassed" by the way the Trojans played in the first half.
Most of that embarrassment was probably for the defense, coached by Kiffin's father, Monte.
Surely fewer complaints about the offense, especially Barkley, who has completed 15 of 19 passes for 190 yards and four touchdowns. Johnson has been the Trojans' top receiver, with five catches for 41 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman Robert Woods has four catches for 47 yards.
Marc Tyler has rushed for 70 yards in 11 carries.
For Hawaii, Moniz has completed 13 of 28 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. He's also rushed for 34 yards in seven carries. Salas has six receptions for 70 yards.
USC was penalized eight times for 64 yards; Hawaii two times for 20 yards.
USC 20, Hawaii 13 (2:57 left in second quarter)
Jawanza Starling, a sophomore safety for USC, is not having the best of halfs.
His pass interference kept a Hawaii scoring drive going in the first quarter, and he was just burnt on a 56-yard pass from Bryant Moniz to Kealoha Pilares that pulled Hawaii within a touchdown near the end of the first half.
Moniz hit Pilares with a very short pass over the middle, but Starling missed a tackle and Pilares broke toward the sideline and raced untouched to the end zone.
USC 20, Hawaii 6 (midway through second quarter)
Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz isn't doing a lot of damage to USC with his passing, but he can run a little.
The former walk-on ran five times for 35 yards to help move Hawaii into position where Scott Enos could connect on a 40-yard field goal with 7:27 to play in the second quarter.
Moniz is originally from Ohau, but he played one year of junior college at Fresno City College.
Last year for Hawaii, he averaged less than 12 yards rushing a game, but about 240 yards passing.
USC 20, Hawaii 3 (early in second quarter)
USC is only one for three in two-point conversion tries, but the Trojans, with quarterback Matt Barkley leading the way, are three for three in scoring on each of their possessions.
Barkley, too, has nearly been perfect. He completed his first seven passes, but is now nine of 10 with three touchdowns.
USC has already gained 211 yards, with Barkley passing for 116. His latest pass went for six yards and a touchdown to tight end Rhett Ellison, who made a diving catch in the end zone.
The Trojans are also averaging nearly seven yards a run. Marc Tyler has 67 yards in 10 carries and Allen Bradford has 28 yards in four carries.
USC can't seem to pull it together on conversion tries, though. Barkley is one of two on two-point conversion passes and Mitch Mustain failed on his attempt.
That said, it looks like the Trojans will have plenty of chances to practice tonight.
USC 14, Hawaii 3 (1:38 left in first quarter)
The last time Lane Kiffin called plays for USC at Hawaii, the Trojans scored 63 points.
They appear on their way to approaching that kind of production again.
USC has scored both times it has had the ball, and quarterback Matt Barkley is looking like he can do whatever he wants.
Barkley completed all four of his passes on a 10-play, 73-yard march -- the last a play action pass to Ronald Johnson for a one-yard touchdown.
Barkley then went right back to Johnson for a two-point conversion.
The sophomore has looked trim and light on his feet in completing his first six passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
USC 6, Hawaii 3 (midway through first quarter)
USC missed some tackles, too -- and was hit with a 15-yard pass interference penalty -- as Hawaii just finished off a scoring drive.
A 24-yard field goal by Scott Enos has cut the Trojans' lead in half.
Hawaii's big plays, other than the pass interference call, was a 29-yard run by Alex Green and an 11-yard pass from Bryant Moniz to Royce Pollard.
The Moniz to Pollard pass gave Hawaii a first down at USC's three, but the Trojans held.
USC 6, Hawaii 0 (early in first quarter)
USC, because of depth issues, hasn't been hitting much in practice.
So it looks like the Trojans will be comfortable facing Hawaii this evening in Game 1 of the Lane Kiffin era.
Because on USC's first drive, Hawaii didn't do much hitting at all, either.
The Trojans took six plays and exactly three minutes to go 79 yards on their first possession of the season. The last 46 yards were covered by a Matt Barkley to David Ausberry pass, catch and run.
Ausberry, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound senior, simply pushed past Lametrius Davis, a 190-pound Hawaii cornerback, after catching the ball and strode into the end zone.
USC tried to get tricky in going back to Ausberry on a two-point conversion try, but Mitch Mustain's pass fell incomplete.
USC just finished its pre-game warmup for its opener against Hawaii at Aloha Stadium.
Unlike predecessor Pete Carroll, Coach Lane Kiffin did not play catch with anyone on the field.
The Trojans, in fact, seemed more subdued than they did under Carroll, though perhaps that was due to concentration as they prepared for the first game of the Kiffin era.
Team captains Matt Barkley, Stanley Havili, Shareece Wright, Malcolm Smith and Michael Morgan are wearing a stitched "C" on their jerseys.
-----USC just arrived at Aloha Stadium for tonight's opener against Hawaii.
This is the first time the Trojans have been in the stadium, Coach Lane Kiffin forsaking the traditional stadium walk-through on Wednesday. Kiffin, however, was here in 2005 when he made his debut as offensive coordinator for the Trojans.
Players walked the length of the field to the locker room, defensive players gathering at midfield for a traditional pregame meeting. Offensive linemen met under the goal post.
It's 87 degrees, sunny with some clouds and a breeze is whipping through the stadium.
Players should be out soon for pregame warmups.
Photo: USC receiver David Ausberry scores the first touchdown of the season against Hawaii on Thursday night at Aloha Stadium. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times