LOS ANGELES - With the offensive fireworks provided by Matt Barkley and company stealing the headlines, it was the Trojans' domination on the defensive line of scrimmage that was somewhat lost in USC's 49-10 victory over Hawaii.
Led by a defensive line unit thought to be a question mark heading into the contest, USC held the Warriors’ offense to just 83 yards -- including minus-4 yards rushing -- in the first half.
"I think the real story of the game is the defensive line," USC head coach Lane Kiffin said following the win. "We got to see a lot of kids that haven't played a lot."
Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron's group certainly lacks experience as a whole, but it didn't seem to matter on Saturday.
Defensive linemen Greg Townsend Jr. and Leonard Williams each got their first sacks as Trojans, and end Morgan Breslin, a transfer out of Diablo Valley College (Pleasant Hill, Calif.), pressured Hawaii quarterback Sean Schroeder throughout and was the unexpected star, racking up five tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and two pass breakups.
George Uko added two tackles, one forced fumble and one sack as the defense recorded a total of six sacks, four takeaways (2 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries) and held the Warriors to just 56 rushing yards in the game -- The sixth time in twelve games that USC has limited an opponent to under 100 rushing yards.
Adding support behind the line, SAM Linebacker Dion Bailey led the team with seven tackles, and middle linebacker Hayes Pullard had six tackles and an interception that he returned 27-yards for a touchdown.