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USC Trojans vs. Hawaii Warriors: Watch Live Stream Online for Free; Preview

By Melissa Siegel - Posted: 09/01/12 06:48PM EDT
Matt Barkley

Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Barkley leads the USC Trojans against the Hawaii Warriors tonight in the season opener for both teams. (Photo: REUTERS)

The No. 1 University of Southern California Trojans begin their quest for a national championship tonight at home against the Hawaii Warriors. The game will be broadcast live on FOX at 7:30 p.m. ET, and you can also watch a live stream online for free here.

Head coach Lane Kiffin has led the Trojans to an 18-7 record over the past two seasons. However, the squad has been banned from bowl contention for the past two seasons as a result of NCAA infractions. Much of the same squad that finished the 2011 season 10-2 and ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press poll returns this season with the hopes of earning a berth in a BCS bowl.

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Those returnees are led by quarterback Matt Barkley, who came back for his senior season even though he likely would have been a top pick in April's NFL draft. Barkley passed for 3,528 yards last year with 39 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

Barkley's top two targets from 2011 return as well. Junior Robert Woods hauled in six touchdowns as a freshman and last season had 1,292 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns. He also averaged  23.1 yards on 17 kickoff returns and broke a school record with 111 receptions in one season.

Teammate Marqise Lee made a splash last year, hauling in 73 catches for 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those 11 touchdown receptions were the most in the nation by a freshman last season.

As if the Trojans' passing game wasn't explosive enough, they also have two playmakers at tailback. Senior Curtis McNeal rushed for 1,005 yards and averaged 6.9 yards per carry last season after being academically ineligible in 2010.

Joining him this year will be former Nittany Lions starter Silas Reed, who transferred to USC amid the turmoil at Penn State. Redd rushed for 1,241 yards last year and could help improve a Trojans offense that already averaged 35.8 points per game in 2011.

USC's offense should have little problem with Hawaii's defense, a unit that allowed nearly 30 points per game last season and is returning only four of its starters from 2011.

The Warriors are beginning their first season under new head coach Norm Chow. Chow is greatly familiar to USC fans, having served as the Trojans' offensive coordinator from 2001 to 2004. He takes over a team that finished 6-7 last season.

Hawaii actually had a fairly potent offense in 2011, finishing 36th in the nation with an average of 31.5 points per game. Historically most of their damage has come through the air, with former head coaches June Jones and Greg McMackin relying on a run-and-shoot system that favored the passing game. Indeed, last season the Warriors averaged 328.4 yards passing compared to just 95.4 yards on the ground.

Chow brings to Hawaii his more pro-style offense, and actually stated on Mountain West media day that he wants to run the ball more. However, he will have to do this with an offensive line that has lost four starters to graduation.

He will also have a new quarterback in transfer Sean Schroeder, who won the starting job despite not taking a snap in three years at Duke.



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