There was plenty of speculation leading into this game about who was going to be the quarterback for USC. It turns out that the defense might render the play of the man under center moot.
The Trojan’s defense, under new coordinator Clancy Pendergast, forced Hawai’i and their first time starting quarterback Taylor Graham into four interceptions on the way to a 30-11 victory over the Rainbow Warriors.
Graham, a transfer from Ohio State who had not started a game since high school, completed 16 for 41 passes for 209 yards, a touchdown and those four picks, one of which was returned for a touchdown in the first half. Graham also misfired on several option routes and missed open receivers down the field as well, serving as a major impediment to Hawai’i’s potential success in this game. Graham’s receivers let him down, though, by bobbling some catchable balls.
Graham did, however, manage to throw an early contender for block of the year:
Graham’s ineptitude under center was not the only bad quarterbacking on the field. It is apparent, if you watched this game, why the quarterback battle between Max Wittek and Cody Kessler has stretched into the season. Neither player has stepped up to assert control over the position.
Kessler got the start and played into the third quarter. He looked indecisive in making his reads and seemed slow on his dropbacks from center. He finished his night 10 of 19 for 95 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Wittek came in early in the third quarter but did not produce that much himself, going 5 for 10 for 77 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions.
There are still 12 games in the season, but Lane Kiffin might want to work on developing gameplans instead of gamesmanship.
What’s next for USC: Round two of the quarterback derby will take place back on the mainland at home. The Trojans will open conference play next Saturday hosting Washington State.
What’s next for Hawai’i: The Rainbow Warriors will try to take better care of the ball in their second straight Pac-12 game. Hawai’i will head to the mainland to take on Oregon State in Corvallis.