USC sacked Hawaii quarterback Taylor Graham six times and intercepted him four times, including one returned for touchdown by junior safety Josh Shaw late in the second quarter. The touchdown for Shaw was part of a 17-0 run by the Trojans in the final 4:18 of the first half that overshadowed what could have been an embarrassing first half for USC.
The Trojans trailed 5-3 midway through the second quarter, and sophomore starting quarterback Cody Kessler was just 6-for-13 for 51 yards and an interception through the Trojans' first six drives. He was also sacked in the end zone for a safety.
But Kessler completed a 19-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Nelson Agholor with 4:18 remaining in the second quarter to give USC a 10-5 lead, and they never looked back. Kessler on the night completed 10-of-19 passes for 95 yards. Fellow sophomore Max Wittek completed 5-of-10 passes for 77 yards for the Trojans.
The Trojans shined on defense, led by a defensive line that provided constant pressure all night. Sophomore defensive tackle Leonard Williams, who had eight sacks as a freshman in 2012, sacked Graham twice, as did junior defensive end George Uko.
USC held Hawaii to just 22 yards on the ground. Sophomore tailback Tre Madden, making his first start for the Trojans, ran for 109 yards on 18 carries.
Up next for the Trojans is a home date with Washington State on Saturday, Sept. 7, while the Warriors face another Pac-12 opponent with a trip to Corvallis against Oregon State.