USC-Hawaii 2nd Half Notes

-USC comes out in the 2nd half with the clear intention to throw the ball– the opening tactic proves inefficient, after 3 passing plays, the Trojans have to punt after a three-and-out

-Kris Albarado kicks a perfect punt that lands on Hawaii’s 1-yard line; the Trojan defense remains unflappable, and forces a Warrior three-and-out–the pressure from the front 7 keys the short series for Hawaii once again

-Max Wittek finally gets a shot on the Trojans’ 2nd offensive series of the 2nd half; after a couple of runs by freshman Justin Davis for 5 yards, Wittek gets pulled down in the backfield on 3rd down–the passing game wasn’t really given a true chance, with Wittek throwing only on a 3rd-down play, so getting sacked seems understandable for now

-the absence of cornerback Anthony Brown starts to show, as Hawaii grabs 24 yards downfield on a vertical pass; the drive ends for the Warriors soon, though–freshman Jabari Ruffin lines up on the D-line, and then pressures and knocks down Hawaii’s quarterback, having a clear path into the backfield

-the offensive line continues to have its struggles, as Wittek gets sacked once again, this time on first down; while Tre Madden eclipsing the 80-yard rushing mark is promising (which he accomplishes on this drive), it proves not enough, as the Trojans fail to move the chains

-the Warriors add 2 more first downs to their total, as they begin to develop a fluency in the passing game–this comes as a result of the depleted Trojans secondary, which misses Kevin Seymour and now Anthony Brown, who left during the game

-Devon Kennard continues his fantastic game with another sack, but later commits a holding penalty that essentially nullifies his previous contribution

-after a face mask penalty on George Uko places Hawaii at the Trojans’ 25 yard line, Dion Bailey snags an interception, USC’s 4th for the night

( Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / August 29, 2013 ) The insertion of Wittek at quarterback benefited Marqise Lee tremendously.

The insertion of Wittek at quarterback benefited Marqise Lee tremendously. ( Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / August 29, 2013 )

-Kevin Graf started off USC’s possession poorly with a false start penalty, but Max Wittek, along with the help of Justin Davis, then orchestrated the Trojans’ most fluent and effective drive of the game: after consecutive 18 and 14-yard runs by the freshman Davis, Wittek completed his first pass to Marqise Lee for 16 yards, followed by a few more runs by Davis and a 17-yard throw by Wittek to Lee again

-Wittek then starts the 4th quarter–on the same drive–with another completion to Lee for 13 yards to situate the Trojans at Hawaii’s 5-yard line

-although the auspicious drive down the field concludes with a Heidari field goal after Max Wittek fails to find an open Randall Telfer in the back of the end zone on 2nd down, we may have an early favorite for USC’s starting quarterback job heading into the team’s next game: not only did Wittek seem very comfortable throwing the ball, but he also involved USC’s star threat–Marqise Lee (46 yards)–and meshed well with the running game (Davis recorded 42 yards)

-the defensive unit gets a lucky break with a no-call on clear passing interference on a downfield Hawaiian pass; the Trojan defense yields just 1 first down en route to another Warrior punt

-Wittek continues to lead the USC offense efficiently, and further develops his brewing chemistry with Marqise Lee (with another 12-yard connection to his star receiver); Davis adds another rushing explosion of 21 yards to his resume, but a costly fumble–that moves USC back 10 yards–gets him pulled from the game

-the drive ended with a punt, and while Wittek displayed less proficiency than in the Trojans’ previous possession, he did supplement the offense with flashes of a potent, downfield threat–Wittek nearly converted 2 deep balls to Nelson Agholor (with one of these chances resulting in a passing interference call), an offensive facet that Kessler could not replicate earlier in the contest

-the staunch USC defense records yet another sack (7 for the game now), and after a couple of Hawaii first downs, the defense forces a punt

-the rushing attack for the Trojans has so far fulfilled their desperate need for offensive efficiency on the ground, which has become even more evident by Madden’s 25-yard burst to start off what looks like USC’s last series; Wittek launches another sublime deep throw, but Lee–his target–loses concentration and cannot real in the catch; one can only think that with more reps for Wittek in practice as starter, a fluency with Lee will be better cultivated

-the bruising runner Javorius Allen enters the game for SC, compiling 18 yards along with a key 1st-down conversion run; and who could be more deserving to punch it in for a touchdown than Justin Davis?–the freshman plowed in with less than one minute in the game, adding a TD score to his superb performance in this game (74 yards on 14 attempts); Davis, along with Tre Madden (109 yards on 18 carries), have made Trojan fans and even coaching staff forget about the absence of Silas Redd and D.J. Morgan

-what could have easily occurred much earlier in the game, happened in the waning seconds: the Hawaiian air attack burns the USC secondary–in this case, cornerback Devian Shelton–for a 60-yard touchdown strike

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