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USC quarterback Matt Barkley is good. So good that he makes opposing coaches admit they wish he would have left school following the conclusion of last season. You can count University of Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone as one of those coaches.
"I was one of a couple people that was hoping he'd go on to the NFL," Marrone said. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I'm happy he's back."
Marrone would go on to declare that had Barkley gone into the 2012 draft, he would have been drafted ahead of Robert Griffin III. Pretty heavy praise for the Trojans' quarterback. One has to wonder how Marrone's own team feels about their coach's outpouring of praise for the Heisman front-runner.
The Orange face the Trojans this Saturday at the MetLife Stadium in the New York College Classic. Last time 'Cuse went up against SC, the Trojans -- more specifically Barkley -- pounded them with five touchdowns and 324 yards.
The USC Trojans, fresh off their 49-10 win over Hawaii on Saturday at the Coliseum, head to New Jersey's MetLife Stadium this week to face heavy underdog Syracuse Saturday at 12:30 PT.
The Trojans have been installed as 25 1/2 point favorites already for this game. The Orange (0-1) lost a heartbreaker in the closing seconds when Northwestern scored a late touchdown to win 42-41 at the Carrier Dome.
The Trojans should have some success running the ball, and their passing offense will certainly test the Syracuse secondary. But 'Cuse can light up the stats board with offensive numbers, too. They totaled almost 600 yard of total offense against Northwestern.
With USC's ability to score so quickly, the odds seem more likely to remain where they are, if not go up . Matt Barkley threw five TDS against the Orange last year in L.A. when the teams played, and USC won 38-17.
For more on the USC Trojans, make sure to check out Conquest Chronicles.
At 6'0'' and 200 pounds, Bailey is an undersized linebacker. Some questioned whether he would be able to handle an entire season at linebacker, and those who doubted Bailey will surely jump on this injury as proof that he can't, fairly or not.
USC destroyed Hawaii 49-10 in a game that was over seemingly before it even started. The only concern on the defensive side of the ball would be in the backfield, but the linebackers helped them out with Hayes Pullard returning an interception for a touchdown.
The Trojans take on Syracuse next in New Jersey. Their first test of the season comes the following weekend when they take on Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif.
Barkley's main target on Saturday Marqise Lee, and was from the very start of the game. Barkley found Lee on On the first play of the game from scrimmage with a short comeback toss, which Lee took to the house for 70 yard touchdown to put USC up 7-0. Lee also made the highlight reel after taking a kickoff early in the second half. Thanks to some great blocking on special teams, Lee burned past the competition, taking it all the way to the end zone.
It could be a start to an amazing season for Barkley and Lee, and the start of a long season for USC's opposing defenses.
For more on the USC Trojans, make sure to check out Conquest Chronicles. For more on the Pac-12, head to Pacific Takes, and for more on college football in general, please check out SB Nation's dedicated college football hub.
The top-ranked USC Trojans came in and did what they wanted to do -- sort of.
Though the 49-10 blowout win over Norm Chow and Hawaii looked pretty on paper, the Trojans are not in a position to take anything lightly. They have a BCS National Championship that they're chasing, so no matter the score, it has to be the way they do it, particularly early in the season.
Quarterback Matt Barkley completed 23-of-38 for 372 yards and four touchdowns and still felt need for improvement on the offensive side of the ball.
"... the offense was in the ‘C' range," Barkley said. "We left a lot of points on the table. It felt like we could have scored 100 points in the first half."
Kiffin was proud of his quarterback's play and knows that it can get only get better from here.
"He did really well," Kiffin said of Barkley. "He was a couple of drops of away from some big time numbers. He handled the hype really well."
But some think that the Trojans may drop to no. 2 in the polls after Alabama demolished no. 8 Michigan in Dallas on Saturday. Due to the level of competition, the Crimson Tide's win is seen as more impressive.
"We're just excited to play football again," said Barkley. "There's so much talk, especially this year with all the rankings and the hype. This was just a good way to kick off the season, and finally find that rhythm and that flow."
For more on the Trojans, check out Conquest Chronicles.
After jumping out to a 35-0 lead at halftime, the Trojans took their foot off the pedal some in the second half, allowing a 18-yard touchdown pass from Sean Schroeder to Scott Harding in the opening minutes of the half. However, a 100-yard kickoff return by Marquis Lee on the ensuing kickoff ensured that Hawaii made up no ground.
Heisman Trophy favorite Matt Barkley looked the part as he completed 22-of-37 passes for 371 yards and four touchdowns, primarily targeting his two favorite receivers, Lee and Robert Woods. Lee led the receivers with nine receptions for 190 yards and a touchdown, while Woods caught six passes for 43 yards and two touchdowns.
The Trojans will see their next action on Saturday when they travel to play Syracuse at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Setting the tone very early with a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage and a 20-0 lead in the first quarter, the USC Trojans offense kept on rolling into the second quarter.
After accumulating 200 yards passingwith two passing touchdowns in the first quarter , Matt Barkley added 109 more yards in the second quarter, including a 2-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods, his second touchdown reception of the game.
The USC defense forced seven punts, four turnovers and negative-4 yards rushing to the Warriors on 15 carries. The only real progress the Hawaii offense has made is through the air, although Sean Schroeder's 10-for-22 passing for 87 yards hasn't been nearly enough to threaten the Trojans.
After two successful extra points, USC Trojans kicker Andre Heidari is out of the game with an apparent injury to his right leg. Replacing the kicker on the field will be walk-on redshirt sophomore, Chris McMahon, although the Trojans may not rely on McMahon for an extra point.
Instead, without their starting kicker, USC may continue their trend of going for a two-point conversion following a touchdown as they have on each of their last two scores. Following those scores, though, it was Heidari kicking off for the Trojans.
Where McMahon's impact will likely be seen during the remainder of the game is during kickoffs as he's slated to fill in for Heidari in that role. The severity of Heidari's injury and a timetable for his return are unknown right now.
With all the hype and spotlight on the No. 1 USC Trojans, they did exactly what everyone knows they're capable of by scoring on a 75-yard screen pass from Matt Barkley to Marqise Lee on the first play from scrimmage.
They kept the pedal to the floor with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Barkley to Robert Woods and bounced back from a Silas Redd fumble by way of a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown by Hayes Pullard. While a failed two-point conversion attempt kept the score at 20 for the Trojans, the defense has stifled all offensive drives by Hawaii to keep them scoreless.
Barkley, the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy for the 2012 season, completed nine of 13 passing attempts to rack up 200 yards through the air in the first quarter. It's all business for Lane Kiffin, though, who removed Pullard from the game and replaced him with Scott Starr following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the linebacker for a throat-slashing gesture.
The Trojans will begin the second quarter with the ball deep in Hawaii territory.
The No. 1 ranked USC Trojans and the early Heisman Trophy favorite Matt Barkley take on the Hawaii Warriors on Saturday, and SB Nation's Trojans blog Conquest Chronicles has a detailed breakdown on what to look for in the game. One of the big questions they highlight is the defensive line:
Much has been talked about USC's defensive line, and that was prior to losing senior defensive end Devon Kennard for possibly the entire season. As has been said many times, the Trojans are awfully young up front. Other than senior Wes Horton, the remaining three players projected to start --- redshirt sophomore George Uko, sophomore J.R. Tavai and redshirt freshman Antwaun Woods --- have a combined two starts between them. And those two starts belong to Uko last season.
Right now, McNeal and Redd are listed as co-starters on the depth chart. That certainly came as a surprise, as it was thought all along that McNeal would be the clear starter. It'll be interesting to see if Kiffin splits the carries 50-50 or gives one of the two most of the workload.
The No. 1 ranked USC Trojans are currently 42-point favorites for their season-opener, a home game against the Hawaii Warriors. The line opened with the Trojans as 37-point favorites, but the money being laid down has the spread getting even larger. Updated odds can be found here.
Things aren't expected to be anywhere close to the last meeting between the two teams, a 49-36 victory for USC. The Trojans are 7-0 against the Warriors, and with the team opening the season at home and looking to prove that they deserve their top ranking they're expected to put on quite a performance. Matt Barkley will be leading things. The Heisman Trophy favorite had a 69.1 percent completion rate in 2011, racking up 39 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
Stick with this StoryStream for more coverage of USC's season-opener against Hawaii. For all things Trojans, Conquest Chronicles has you covered. Pacific Takes is your source for Pac-12 coverage, and SB Nation's college football hub has news from across the NCAA.
The USC Trojans look to justify that No. 1 ranking as they take on the Hawai'I Warriors on Saturday at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
The two teams last met to open the 2010 season at the University of Hawai'I, a game that ended up closer than Saturday's outcome is expected to be, 49-36. The Trojans are over 40 point favorites going into the contest.
Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Barkley is looking to lead the Trojans to their 15th-straight season opener. USC has scored at least 49 points in the last four meetings of the series.
Hawai'I hasn't won a game against USC in seven tries, but has mustered a 29-51 all-time record against the Pac-12, including a winning road record of 4-3. The Warriors finished 2011 with a 6-7 record in their last year as a member of the WAC Conference. The Warriors joined the Mountain West Conference this year and hired Utah Utes offensive coordinator Norm Chow as head coach of the team.
Game Time: 4:30 p.m. PT
Location: Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
Point Spread: 41 points
Radio: 710 ESPN
The USC Trojans regained one of their more experienced linebackers this week, in a pickup which could be big down the road. Simione Vehikite, who spent the last few months in jail, practiced for the first time on Thursday and was given his scholarship back. He is expected to serve as a backup linebacker until he can get back into the swing of things at game speed.
Vehikite was originally sentenced to a year in prison for leaving the scene of a car accident and driving with an elevated blood-alcohol level. He served a little more than three months before being released.
Simione Vehikite, who just got out of jail after a DUI, has been placed back on scholarship at USC and will be a backup LB.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) August 30, 2012
Head coach Lane Kiffin has not really gone into detail about how Vehikite's return will impact the scholarship situation at USC.
As for this weekend's matchup with Hawaii, it would seem unlikely that Vehikite will see any playing time.
For more on Trojans football throughout the season, check out Conquest Chronicles.
Here are some updates from the latest USC football practice as the team prepares for Hawaii.
The USC Trojans are heavy favorites headed into their season opener against the Hawai'i Warriors on Saturday at the Coliseum. The top-ranked Trojans were favored by 40 points as of Wednesday morning. The O/U ranges from 62 to 62.5, depended on the site.
These two teams last met to open 2010 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. USC defeated Hawai'i in that game, 49-36.
The 2012 season brings big expectations for USC, as they are widely regarded as contenders for the BCS National Championship. They will follow this game up with a trip to East Rutherford, N.J. to take on Syracuse before beginning their quest for a Pac-12 title with Stanford on Sept. 15.
Odds for all College Football games can be found here.
The No. 1 USC Trojans are just four days away from kicking off their 2012 season, but head coach Lane Kiffin isn't particularly pleased with what he's seeing from his offense at the moment.
According to Scott Wolf of Inside USC, Kiffin was "irked" at practice because of his offense's struggles. Quarterback Matt Barkley threw an interception and echoed Kiffin's disappointment, saying he was unhappy with false starts and sloppy formations on offense.
The Trojans are 40-point favorites in Saturday's game against the Hawaii Warriors and shouldn't have any problem handling Norm Chow's squad, bad practice or not. But with USC ranked No. 1 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll and 2012 Heisman hopeful Barkley entering his final season in a Trojan uniform, expectations around the program are understandably high.
Also of note from Tuesday's practice: With the Penn St. Nittany Lions adding players' names to the back of their uniforms, USC is now the only Division I school never to have had surnames on the back of its jerseys.
USC head coach Lane Kiffin has named Max Wittek as the Trojans' backup quarterback behind Matt Barkley, reports the Orange County Register. In a tight battle with fellow redshirt freshman Cody Kessler, the backup spot wasn't decided by much, Kiffin told the media after Tuesday's practice.
Lane Kiffin said naming Max Wittek the No. 2 QB would have no bearing on who starts next season— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) August 28, 2012
After Barkley's departure, the competition for the starting job will be open to either Kessler or Wittek in the spring, and it will continue the already interesting back-and-forth between the two quarterbacks out of California.
Kessler, a 6'1, 215-pound quarterback out of Centennial High School, won the competition over Wittek in 2011 and served as Barkley's backup. But like Wittek, a 6'4, 235-pound player out of Mater Dei High School, Kessler didn't see time behind center last season.
Barkley remained healthy and that helped both young quarterbacks redshirt, leaving both with an equal chance to replace the preseason Heisman candidate in 2013.
Going into the season at No. 1 in the polls is a blessing and a curse. The pressure is on USC to prove they deserve all the hype and it all starts with the game against the University of Hawaii on Saturday. The Trojans will see a familiar face across the field with former offensive-coordinator Norm Chow taking over the reigns at Hawaii. Southern Cal's head coach Lane Kiffin is confident that having worked with, learned from, and faced Chow, not only at the college level, but the pro-level as well, will benefit his team as they prepare for the game.
One person that Kiffin is certainly not worried about, at least not outwardly, is likely-Heisman candidate quarterback Matt Barkley. Kiffin acknowledges that Barkley leadership has been instrumental in acquainting new players, like Penn State transfer Silas Redd, with the offense. Kiffin and Barkley believe that Matt is NFL-ready and that will translate on the field this season.
Norm Chow is changing the course of the once-famed run-and-shoot offense that made record-setters out of former quarterbacks Colt Brennan and Timmy Chang at the University of Hawaii.
Chow, the USC offensive coordinator from 2001 to 2004, is in his first-year as head coach of the Hawaii Warriors football program and has implemented his pro-style offense to give his team a more well-rounded offensive attack.
"The run-and-shoot is a tremendous way and a very effective way to move the ball, but just feel like we have the kind of people that we need to run the ball with," said Chow in Hawaii's student newspaper.
The players have bought into Chow's new philosophy due to the resume Chow brings with him from his days with USC and elsewhere. With a reputation like Chow's, it doesn't take too much convincing to get players to buy in to what he wants to do.
"Coach Chow is kind of known as an offensive genius in the college football world," said starting junior quarterback Sean Schroeder. "He knows how to create mismatches on the outside and establish the running game, and just put the whole team in great situations to win football games with moving the ball and getting first downs."
What better way to test out the offense then against Chow's old team.
The USC Trojans begin their season as the No. 1 team in the country and will start their journey towards another national championship against Hawaii at home on Saturday. As seen in the following defensive starters named for Saturday's game, this Trojans defense is young and talented. Only two seniors start (potentially three) and the rest are underclassmen with two juniors, six sophomores and one freshman.
Defensive End: Wes Horton, Sr.
Nose Tackle: Antwaun Woods, Fr.
Defensive Tackle: George Uko, So.
Defensive End: J.R. Tavai, So.
Strongside Linebacker: Dion Bailey, So.
Middle Linebacker: Lamar Dawson, So.
Weakside Linebacker: Hayes Pullard, So.
Cornerback: Nickell Robey, Jr.
Free Safety: T.J. McDonald, Sr.
Strong Safety: Demetrius Wright, Jr. or Jawanza Starling, Sr.
Cornerback: Anthony Brown, So.
With the release of the USC Trojans depth chart heading into their first game of the season against Hawaii, both senior running back Curtis McNeal and junior running back Silas Redd are listed as starters at tailback for the Trojans.
McNeal started USC's last four games last season and appeared in all 12 games overall to lead the team in rushing. He finished with 1,005 yards (6.9 avg.) on 145 carries with six touchdowns.
Newcomer Redd wasn't highly sought after as a transfer from Penn State for no reason. In 13 games last season (11 starts), Redd rushed for 1,241 yards on 244 carries (5.1 avg.) with seven touchdowns to lead the Nittany Lions. He was also named to the All-Big Ten second team. His arrival, plus McNeal, gives the Trojans a good problem to have.
But according to a tweet from Joey Kaufman, Redd does expect McNeal to get the nod against Hawaii.
The No. 1 ranked USC Trojans host Hawaii in their season-opener.
Projected starter Isiah Wiley will not play this season for the Trojans.
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