Kiffin picks starting quarterback

USC coach Lane Kiffin has decided who will be the starting quarterback for the Trojans when they take the field Saturday against Pac-12 foe Washington State in their home opener.

After rotating redshirt sophomores Cody Kessler and Max Wittek throughout the team’s first game against Hawai’i, it sounds as though the Trojan attack will be led by just one quarterback for the entirety of USC’s matchup against the Cougars – but apparently, no one outside of the program will find out who until the Trojans’ offense takes the field at the Coliseum.

“You guys will see on Saturday who he is,” Kiffin said during a media press conference on Sunday.

Kessler and Wittek have been battling for the starting job for all of spring and fall camp. Kessler generally put up better statistics and made less mistakes in practice and team scrimmages, and earned the starting nod against Hawai’i for the team’s season opener.

But he didn’t perform with the same poise while playing the entire first half and parts of the second half against the Warriors, completing just 10 of 19 passes for 95 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Wittek eventually took over for Kessler and completed 5 of 10 passes for 77 yards, and Kiffin was noticeably less conservative in playcalling while Wittek was under center in the second half.

Wittek was allowed to attempt three passes over 40 yards, with two deep balls being dropped by USC’s receivers, including a sure touchdown reception that slipped through junior wideout Marqise Lee’s hands, and another drawing a pass interference call from Hawai’i.

Kessler, meanwhile, didn’t throw any passes more than 25 yards, and 16 of his 19 attempts traveled less than 10 yards downfield.

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