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LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) Marqise Lee caught a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage and returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score, and No. 1 Southern California rolled to a 49-10 victory over Hawaii on Saturday night.
Matt Barkley kicked off his Heisman Trophy campaign with 377 yards passing and four touchdowns, and Lee caught 10 passes for 197 yards for the Trojans (1-0), whose offensive stars were every bit as impressive as expected in their first game since their two-year NCAA bowl ban ended.
“We’re really not playing for that, ” when Barkley was asked about impressing people. “We are playing for ourselves, playing for our school, for our jersey. If you start to play for the hype or for flashy plays then it doesn’t happen, so we are taking it one out of time and that’s what we did today. The first play I was focused on getting a completion, we knew it was playoff coverage, and it turned into a flashy play. We are just playing Trojan football.”
Silas Redd rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown on a team-leading nine carries in the Penn State transfer’s debut at USC, which led 35-0 at halftime and coasted to its 15th consecutive season-opening victory.
Hayes Pullard returned an interception 27 yards for a first-quarter score for USC, which outgained Hawaii 481-264.
Duke transfer Sean Schroeder passed for 208 yards and a score in his first start for Hawaii (0-1), which realized it had a rough assignment for coach Norm Chow’s debut.
The former USC offensive coordinator is a head coach for the first time after 40 years in the profession, but his Warriors couldn’t keep up in the opener of their first season since moving to the Mountain West after 33 years in the WAC.
Schroeder hit Scott Harding with an 18-yard TD pass on the first series after halftime – but Lee replied with his TD kickoff return. Jeremiah Ostrowski had seven catches for 34 yards for the Warriors.READ MORE: Inside SoCal: 11/28 Wrap-Up
After going 10-2 and finishing with at No. 6 in the final poll last season, the Trojans looked sharp while playing with their first No. 1 ranking since 2008. USC has never lost in eight meetings with Hawaii in a series dating to 1930 and including the 1936 Poi Bowl.
USC was on target from the first snap of Barkley’s senior year. After a game-opening touchback, Barkley found Lee with a 5-yard cross-field pass – and Lee reversed direction and sprinted down the USC sideline for a score.
“I just caught the ball and made one move. Coach always emphasized by making one move and going up – and I actually did what he said,” Lee said after the game. “I just ran. I had great blockers; actually I would never score without Xavier Grimble and Robert Woods on my side. For the first game we actually did pretty good. We still had a couple of mistakes on the offensive side that we need to fix.”
Woods then capped a 99-yard drive with a 20-yard TD catch on a perfectly thrown ball from Barkley. Redd got his first carry for the Trojans during that drive, and he made a long reception on the next drive – but fumbled during the ensuing run.
Nickell Robey then tipped a pass late in the first quarter, and Pullard returned it for a score.
Redd made his most impressive run in his debut game on fourth and 2 early in the second quarter, running 31 yards through the heart of Hawaii’s defense for a score. Woods tacked on his second TD catch after a long punt return by Robey moments later.
USC led 35-0 on Andre Heidari‘s field goal at the halftime gun. Lee had eight catches for 176 yards in the first half despite two significant drops.
After Hawaii’s only TD, Lee promptly became just the second USC player to return a kickoff at least 100 yards, sprinting down the Hawaii sideline for the electrifying sophomore’s second career score on a kickoff return.
Barkley played into the fourth quarter before giving way to Max Wittek, who won the backup job during camp.
Schroeder, from Laguna Niguel, Calif., graduated from Duke in three years without playing for the Blue Devils. He made several tough throws under pressure from USC’s rebuilt defensive line, but couldn’t keep Hawaii moving consistently until the Trojans were insurmountably ahead.MORE NEWS: Sunday Expected To Be Busiest Travel Day Of Thanksgiving Season At LAX
During the game at the sold-out Coliseum, the Trojans paid tribute to former linebacker Junior Seau, who killed himself in May. Seau’s parents and children gathered on the field for an emotional ceremony between quarters.