One of the more anticipated games of the year helps start this college football season. The University of Hawaii Warriors are visiting the University of Southern California Trojans in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Saturday (September 1) for a 4:30 PM kickoff on FOX. Game time temperatures should be in the 70's.
Hawaii comes into the game as a heavy underdog versus the #1 team in the country. New head coach Norm Chow of the Warriors visits his old stomping grounds where he won a couple national championships as offensive coordinator under Pete Carroll at USC. One of the assistants with Chow on the offense was the wide receivers coach Lane Kiffin, who eventually became the head coach for the Trojans.
Chow has discarded the run and shoot for a more conventional pro-set type offense. Hawaii will try to be more balanced, along with having a set of running backs that just may make the Warriors tougher to key on. 6' 240 pound redshirt sophomore Joey Iosefa will lead the ground game. He can play either tailback or fullback and expect him to take snaps at both - and in fact, don't be surprised to see him play all over the field. 6' 220 pound fifth-year senior Sterling Jackson will probably share some of the tailback carries with 6' 190 pound redshirt freshman Will Gregory.
The wide receiver corps is still the best unit on the team. Billy Ray Stutzmann is the leader and the 6' 175 pound fourth-year junior may be the most valuable player on the team. Captain of the offense is Jeremiah Ostrowski and the 5'9" 175 pound fifth-year senior has a knack for big plays. But who will throw them the ball? You've probably never heard of him but 6'3" 200 pound Sean Schroeder will call the plays for Hawaii. He's a transfer from Duke and the junior has impressed coach Chow this fall. By the way, Schroeder is a Southern California native.
Believe it or not, the Warrior defense may be the bigger question mark this season. They could be very good or very bad. They have several new players on the defensive line and linebacking corps but these inexperienced Hawaii players are talented. The team is led by their captain, senior Paipai Falemalu. The 6'3" 245 pound defensive end will be relied on heavily to get a pass rush going. 6' 235 pound junior Art Laurel leads the linebackers. The secondary will be solid, led by two juniors: 5'11" John Hardy-Tuliau and 5'10" Mike Edwards.
The USC Trojans offense may be the best in the country led by Heisman hopeful Matt Barkley at quarterback. The 6'2" 230 pound senior will be throwing to All-American Robert Woods (6'1" 190 pound junior) and Freshman All-American Marqise Lee (6' 195 pound sophomore). Redshirt sophomores Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer may the best tandem of tight ends in the country. Oh, and Barkley can hand it off to either of his 1,000 yard rushers: 5'7" 190 pound fifth-year senior Curtis McNeal or 5'10" 200 pound junior Silas Redd.
The USC defense will be anchored by their back seven including All-American senior T.J. McDonald who is 6'3" 205 pounds. Watch diminutive cornerback Nickell Robey - the 5'8" 165 pounder is a lockdown corner even with his smallish size. The linebackers look very good led by redshirt sophomore outside linebackers Dion Bailey (6' 210) and Hayes Pullard (6'1" 235 pounds). Fifth-year senior D-line end Wes Horton (6'5" 255 pounds) will lead arguably the most suspect unit on the team. 6'3" 285 pound redshirt sophomore George Uko will be expected to reach his potential at tackle this season.
Do they matchup?
If the Warrior offense can get some sort of ground game going against the Trojans front four, they can make a game of it and stay relatively close. Quarterback Schroeder will have a tough go trying to find his receivers against a good USC secondary, which may allow the Trojan linebackers to crowd the line of scrimmage.
Hawaii's secondary is good but against a high-flying receiving corp like USC has may be more than they can handle. And don't forget, the running game of the Trojans will be tough to stop for the smaller Warriors. The Hawaii punter Alex Dunnachie is a great weapon with booming high kicks that never get returned - but he's been suspended so expect punting woes for the Warriors.
First games are hard to figure and it will likely come down to which staff better prepared their players. USC is chomping at the bit to play for championships and this first game may seem like red meat to them. All Chow and Hawaii can hope for is to not get hurt while playing hard and as respectable as possible. But, is that possible against a heavily favored #1? Final score: USC 48 - Hawaii 17
Sources - University of Southern California, University of Hawaii
Daryle lived in Los Angeles Ca. most of his life and has been a longtime fan of USC, having closely followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On! Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of Hawaii, visiting there as a second home for over 40 years. Go 'Bows!
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