USC beats stubborn Hawaii 49-36

September 3, 2010, 4:30 PM HST · Updated September 3, 4:30 PM
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By Fred Guzman

Yeah, I know. Moral victories don’t really count. But it’s also true that the level of optimism for Hawaii’s football season was raised last night.

Although UH remained winless in seven outings against the USC, unlike previous meetings, this setback hardly qualified as a rout. After settling down following a slow start, Hawaii regrouped and gave a solid account of itself in a 49-36 loss before a crowd of 44,402 at Aloha Stadium. In fact, UH out-gained the 14th-ranked Trojans 588-524.

There are areas that need improvement, as well as causes for concern.

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The UH defense seemed slow and tackled poorly. USC QB Matt Barkley shredded the secondary, tying a school record by throwing for five touchdowns. He faced little in the way of a pass rush with the exception of a sack registered by Lahaina’s Kaniela Tuipolotu.

Hawaii’s offensive line showed its inexperience, but starting QB Bryant Moniz played well despite the pressure by throwing for 269 yards with one TD and no picks. That was before Moniz was knocked out of the game by a forearm to the helmet that went unpunished.

But UH’s offense didn’t stall afer Moniz left the game, as both of his backups – Brent Rausch and Shane Austin gave solid accounts of themselves, while Kealoha Pilarest made five catches for 176 yards and three scores.

Next up for UH are road games at Army on Sept. 11 and Colorado on Sept. 18. Based on last night, there are reasons to hope that Hawaii will be a better-than-expected team in coach Greg McMackin’s third season.

MASOLI: It turns out Mississippi quarterback Jeremiah Masoli can now play for the Rebels immediately. The NCAA had ruled that the former Oregon quarterback had to sit out a season after enrolling at Mississippi. But Mississippi appealed that decision and announced Friday that the NCAA Division I Subcommittee for Legislative Relief had ruled that Masoli can play this season. According to NCAA rules, football graduate student-athletes must receive a waiver in order to compete if they enroll at a university other than the one where they received their undergraduate degree. Ole Miss plays Jacksonville State on Saturday.

Masoli, who played last season at Oregon, was told he wouldn’t be eligibile until the 2011 season earlier this week. Upon filing the appeal, Mississippi athletic director Pete Boone said the decision was “subjective” and expected a successful appeal.

“There is no question in my mind Jeremiah is in the right place,” Mississippi coach Houston Nutt said when the appeal was filed. “We’re in the people-helping business. I want to plead with that subcommittee. He’s done nothing but what he’s supposed to do.

Masoli transferred to Mississippi after being kicked off Oregon’s team after two run-ins with police.

The senior has completed his undergraduate degree and enrolled in Mississippi’s Parks and Recreation graduate program. The NCAA will sometimes waive a one-year residency requirement for athletes who are transferring but enrolling in a graduate program not offered at the previous school.

In a news release announcing he wouldn’t be eligible until 2011, the NCAA said Masoli’s request violated the intent of the waiver: “The waiver exists to provide relief to student-athletes who transfer for academic reasons to pursue graduate studies, not to avoid disciplinary measures at the previous university.” Included in Masoli’s appeal was the fact he was kicked off only the football team, not the university.

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