The USC Trojans opened the 2019 recreated campaign with ease, knocking off an overpowered Hawaii team, 59-17.
The USC team speed was on display early and often as WR Velus Jones took the game’s opening kick 102 yards for a touchdown to open the scoring. The Trojans forced a quick turnover by Hawaii’s offense but gave the ball right back themselves on true freshman Kedon Slovis’ first series as the starting quarterback.
Slovis made a bad read and threw a catchable pass, albeit behind his receiver but the out-breaking defender made the play on the ball to intercept it. Hawaii would net three points off the turnover, but that would be all the points they’d score in the first half.
And that would also be Slovis’ lone blemish on his final stat sheet for the day.
Slovis rebounded nicely after his interception and poor start after he misfired on his first three throws. He marched down the field on the next drive and ran in a six-yard touchdown run to push the score to 14-3.
The Trojans defense forced Hawaii QB Cole McDonald to run for his life during the first half and they had three three-and-outs to their credit in the first quarter alone. Hunter Echols capped one of the first-quarter defensive possessions by forcing and recovering a fumble on his own and the offense kept firing.
Wide receivers Michael Pittman and Tyler Vaughns each got in on the scoring action in the first quarter by way of a Vaughns 30-yard touchdown reception and a Pittman eight-yard score to push it to 28-3 at the end of one.
It was more of the same through the second quarter as well as Slovis found his targets at will and the defense stymied the Hawaii offense during the second frame. True freshman receiver Drake London got his first taste of FBS action as he hauled in his first ever reception for a seven-yard touchdown.
Stephen Carr ran in a one-yard touchdown with just :48 left in the second quarter to push the Trojans lead to 42-3 at the break.
The Rainbow Warriors took their opening two possessions of the third quarter into the end zone but their scoring would be over after that as the USC secondary shut down McDonald and Co. all game long. McDonald finished the day completing 18-of-38 passes for 208 yards and an interception.
Slovis, on the other hand, played until the opening drive of the fourth quarter that was capped by another Carr touchdown run, before the starting 22 players we removed from the lineup for USC. Slovis finished the game completing 20-of-27 attempts for 305 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
John Houston led all Trojan tacklers with seven solo tackles while redshirt-senior defensive end Christian Rector came away with two sacks on the afternoon. True freshman cornerback Chris Steele nabbed an interception on his first drive with the team and he came away with two solo tackles while being avoided in coverage by McDonald.
This game was over when:
Velus Jones took the opening kick back 102 yards for a touchdown to make it 7-0.
Offensive Player of the Game:
Kedon Slovis, QB
Defensive Player of the Game:
Christian Rector, DE
Unsung Hero of the Game:
Velus Jones Jr., WR
NCAA Football 14 WTF Moment:
The decision by the computer to slam Kedon Slovis to the ground a good 3 seconds after he threw that ball that ended with a roughing the passer penalty was befuddling.
Reminder, this is a fictional take on our recreation of the 2019 NCAA football season using last year’s updated rosters and playing the games in NCAA Football 14 on a Playstation3. For more information, check out our intro story.