Bailey suffered a hip injury during fall camp and spent days sidelined before being cleared to participate in practices with limited contact.
"There was some doubt," Bailey said after the game, "I'm still not 100%."
Who would've known, based on his performance.
Bailey, who started at linebacker for the Trojans the past two seasons, led the USC defense with 7 tackles and an interception.
"I was able to come out, make a few plays, and take advantage of the opportunities presented," Bailey said. "I'm just glad that we came out here and did what we were supposed to do."
Like his teammates, Bailey spent time after the game praising new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and the 5-2 scheme he brought to USC.
"His mentality and the way he goes about calling plays, we just love it," Bailey said. "We'll do anything for Coach P."
Though happy with the win, Bailey admitted he was happy the Trojans' faced "a little adversity" against the Rainbow Warriors – unlike their 49-10 romping of the Rainbow Warriors in Los Angeles in last year's opener. "We went to Syracuse a week after that game and didn't know how to respond," Bailey recalled. "But now we understand we have a lot to work on. We are nowhere near where we need to be to have the type of season we expect ourselves to have."