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Barkley, Lee lead USC past Hawaii, 49-10

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- USC quarterback Matt Barkley is considered a Heisman Trophy front-runner, but wide receiver Marqise Lee might have overtaken his teammate in the race Saturday with an electrifying performance on offense and special teams.

Lee returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and caught 10 passes for 197 yards as the Trojans breezed to an easy 49-10 victory over Hawaii before an announced crowd of 93,607 at the Coliseum.

Lee caught a short pass on the first play of the game and ran 75 yards down the sideline to set the tone for the season opener for both teams.

"He'll be the best ever (one day)," USC coach Lane Kiffin said. "He's so much bigger and stronger than last year. The first guy rarely tackles him."

Lee and Barkley led the blowout with marquee performances that only enhanced their images as two of the top players in the country. Barkley passed for 372 yards, completing 23 of 38 passes with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Lee caught eight passes for 176 yards in the first half alone.

But Barkley only gave the offense a grade of C after the game.

"We could have scored 100 points in the first half, it seemed like," Barkley said.

It was a stark contrast to last year's opener, when USC squeaked past Minnesota 19-17 at the Coliseum.

The Trojans spoiled the debut of new Hawaii coach Norm Chow, who is probably best known for being a USC assistant when the school won two national titles under former coach Pete Carroll.

"Did you see the game I saw?" Chow said, when asked if USC was overpowering.

About the only thing USC couldn't do was convert two-point plays as the Trojans were 0 for 3 in the first half after kicker Andre Heidari was injured.

Lee's 100-yard kick return matched USC tailback Anthony Davis, who returned a kickoff 100 yards in the famous comeback victory over Notre Dame in 1974 when the Trojans overcame a 24-6 deficit to win 55-24.

"There was a huge hole and I followed a block and that's all I had to do," Lee said.

Barkley then found his other star wide receiver, Robert Woods, for a 20-yard touchdown pass that made it 4-0 with 5:33 left in the first quarter.

The onslaught continued with 3:12 left when cornerback Nickell Robey tipped a Sean Schroeder pass and middle linebacker Hayes Pullard intercepted it and ran 27 yards for a touchdown and a 20-0 lead. Barkley's two-point conversion pass was incomplete.

Tailback Silas Redd, who transferred from Penn State last month, scored on a 31-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that gave USC a 26-0 advantage. Redd later caught a pass for a 41-yard gain but fumbled and Hawaii recovered.

Hawaii finally scored in the third quarter on an 18-yard pass from Schroeder to Scott Harding. The Warriors added a 36-yard field goal by Tyler Hadden that made it 42-10.

USC wasn't done yet, however, because Barkley threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Randall Telfer. Some wondered whether USC coach Lane Kiffin would insert backup quarterback Max Wittek, but maybe he believed Barkley's stats need a big opening for his Heisman campaign.

"We left a lot of points on the table," Barkley said. "It's bittersweet."

NOTES: USC unveiled its new cardinal, gold and silver football shoes. It was the first time the Trojans had not worn black shoes in school history. ... USC honored linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide earlier this year, with a ceremony during the game.
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