Top-Ranked USC Football Team Opens 2005 Season At Hawaii

Aug. 27, 2005

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The two-time defending national champion USC football team begins its quest for an unprecedented 'three-Pete' when it travels to Hawaii for the 2005 season opener. The Trojans have never lost in 5 games against the Warriors; in fact, victories over Hawaii have been part of 2 of USC's national championship seasons (1978, although that win wasn't easy, and 2003). Troy is riding a 22-game overall winning streak and a 9-game road win string, and has also won its past 7 season openers. USC also has never lost a season opener following its previous 10 national title campaigns. The Trojans, No. 1 in the AP poll since the final 2003 ranking, have rarely lost when top-ranked. It's the first time Hawaii has faced the nation's No. 1-ranked team. USC has fared well against current Western Athletic Conference foes, winning 25 of 26 meetings. Head coach Pete Carroll's Trojans are loaded with talented, marquee players on offense, including 2004 Heisman Trophy-winning QB Matt Leinart, the dangerous TB duo of Reggie Bush (a 2004 Heisman finalist) and LenDale White, perhaps the nation's top receiving corps in WRs Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith and TE Dominique Byrd, and a veteran offensive line whose fivesome are all in line for post-season honors. The question is how will the defense, which led the nation in rushing defense and turnover margin last fall, fare after losing 4 All-Americans. Key Trojan defenders include S Darnell Bing, LB Dallas Sartz and DEs Lawrence Jackson and Frostee Rucker. All-American P Tom Malone returns, but there's a new placekicker. Hawaii, coming off an 8-5 season and a win in the Hawaii Bowl, features the wide-open offensive attack of seventh-year head coach June Jones (whose Warrior coaching debut came against USC in 1999) and a new defense coordinated by former NFL head coach Jerry Glanville. It's the start of the post-Timmy Chang era at Hawaii, as a new quarterback must fill in for the NCAA record-setter. UH, which lost 13 starters from 2004, sports a duo--OL Samson Satele and DE Melila Purcell--who earned various All-WAC honors last season. The game, which could sell out in 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium, will be shown live on ESPN2 (USC's first appearance on that air).

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