Hawaii Football: Warriors Rough Start to 2012 Had Few Bright Spots

Mark BatorAnalyst IISeptember 5, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Sterling Jackson #28, Ne'Quan Phillips #20, Tyler Hadden #27, Joey Iosefa #7, Jared Leaf #35 and Tony Grimes #2 of the Hawaii Warriors makes their way to the field before the game against the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Coliseum on September 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

It's difficult to find positives in a game when the opponent scores a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, leads 35-0 at halftime and rolls up 475 yards of total offense.

In addition, the nine penalties and four turnovers committed by the visiting Hawaii Warriors only served to make the task of facing the USC Trojans all the more difficult.

Head coach Norm Chow saw his season debut spoiled by USC, but even he was somewhat taken aback by the relative ease with which the top-ranked Trojans dispatched the Warriors.

"We thought we would give them a better battle," said Chow after the game [as reported by the Associated Press on ESPN.com]. "We made too many mistakes, but we didn't quit."

One of the most costly mistakes was Trojan defensive back Hayes Pullard's interception and return of a Sean Schroeder pass in the first quarter that put Hawaii behind, 20-0.

The Warriors later saw USC drive 99 yards for a score as well as return a kickoff for a touchdown in the contest before a crowd of 93,607 in the Coliseum.

On the plus side, the Warriors racked up as many first downs as the Trojans (20), had a better third down efficiency (7-for-16 as opposed to the Trojans, who were 4-for-14), and had a greater time of possession than USC (32:31 to 27:29).

Schroeder, who was 24 of 39 (61.5%) in the game for 208 yards with one TD and one interception was sacked five times in the game.

"I try to pride myself on being tough and staying in there," offered Schroeder about the protection from his line [as quoted on HawaiiAthletics.com].  "Our offensive line played its butts off and I'm proud of them."

Schroeder spread the ball around to eight different receivers in the game, and freshman running back Will Gregory averaged nearly five yards a carry (10 carries for 48 yards), but the Warriors young team was simply outmatched in week one of the season. Still, coach Norm Chow sees plenty for his young team to build upon.

"We started only one senior and a bunch of kids who never played before," Chow said in his postgame conference [as quoted on HawaiiAthletics.com]. "I told our kids we could still go 10-1."

The Warriors have a bye week before returning for a home contest at Aloha Stadium against the Lamar Cardinals on September 15. Lamar was defeated in its season opener by Louisiana-Lafayette, 40-0.