USC names Cody Kessler starting quarterback

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

The sophomore signalcaller is still expected to split snaps with Max Wittek.

Sophomore Cody Kessler will start at quarterback for Southern Cal Thursday night against Hawaii, according to a report from ESPN Radio:

Head coach Lane Kiffin has previously told reporters that both Kessler and classmate Max Wittek will play at quarterback during the Trojans' season opener. The two have been involved in a close quarterback race since spring practice. Practically all observers said Kessler had outplayed Wittek through fall camp.

Kessler played in 10 games in 2012 as understudy to Matt Barkley, appearing primarily as a placekick holder. He did complete his two pass attempts in mop-up duty against Colorado, and took the last snap of the Trojans' win over Hawaii. Kessler was a four-star prospect out of Bakersfield, Calif.

Southern Cal kicks off against Hawaii at 11 p.m. ET, with live coverage on CBS Sports Network. The Trojans, who are trying to leave their disappointing 2012 campaign behind them, are 23.5-point favorites over the Rainbow Warriors.

UPDATE: USC has confirmed that Kessler will start:

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