MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 18: Running back Marc Tyler #26 of the USC Trojans celebrates with Rhett Ellison #40 after scoring a touchdown during the first half of the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on September 18 2010 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Gophers Fight Valiantly, Fall to Southern Cal, 32-21

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Gophers Defeated By Trojans, 32-21

(Sports Network) – Robert Woods’ 97-yard kickoff return in the third quarter began a string of 19 straight Trojans points, as 18th-ranked Southern California survived Minnesota, 32-21.

Allen Bradford carried the load in the running game, amassing 129 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries for USC (3-0), which was coming off a lackluster 17-14 win over Virginia last week.

Matt Barkley had another mediocre game behind center, completing 16-of-25 passes for 191 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the win.

The Trojans’ defense held Minnesota (1-2) to 305 total yards, with Adam Weber completing only 15-of-29 throws for 226 yards with two TDs and two picks in defeat, the Golden Gophers’ second straight.


Gophers Tack On Garbage Time TD, Lose 32-21

Well, the Golden Gophers gave them a little something to feel good about themselves over. It’s not much, but it’s something.

To conclude a second half in which they were largely dominated, the Gophers managed to matriculate the ball down the field in one minute and seven seconds, concluding with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Adam Weber to Marquise Gray. The extra point makes the final score for this one 32-21.

The Gophers battled in this one throughout. . .heck, they held USC to fewer points than South Dakota. . .but in the end, USC’s talent simply won out.

The Gophers fall to 1-2 on the season, and will host Northern Illinois at 7:30 PM next Saturday.


Trojans Put It Away, Lead Gophers 32-14 After Long Touchdown Run

A drive that should have ended as a USC three-and-out wound up resulting in a USC touchdown.

The Gophers had USC quarterback Matt Barkley sacked deep in Gopher territory, but a blatant face mask penalty on the Gophers gave the Trojans new life, and they responded with a 56-yard touchdown run by Allen Bradford.

The Trojans again went for a two-point conversion, and were unsuccessful.

Time is running out for the Gophers, as they trail the Trojans 32-14 with only 8:32 remaining in the ball game.


Trojans Power To Another Touchdown, Now Lead Gophers 26-14

After the Gopher punt, USC decided to play power football.

The Trojans went on an 11-play drive that highlighted their running game, handing the ball off eight times on the drive. With the Gophers looking for the run, Matt Barkley was able to toss one into the end zone that was caught by David Ausberry for a 21-yard touchdown.

The USC drive covered 88 yards and took 4:51 to complete.


Gopher Lead Lasts Exactly 12 Seconds, Now Trail 19-14

And as quickly as the Gophers got the lead, they gave it up.

USC kick returner Robert Woods took the kickoff following the Weber-to-McKnight touchdown pass, and returned it 97 yards for a touchdown.

Another USC two-point conversion play failed, and the Trojans are back on top 19-14 with 5:35 left in the third quarter.


McKnight's Spectacular Catch Gives Gophers Lead, 14-13

The Gophers took the turnover they created, and turned it into a touchdown.

After a first big conversion on third down between Adam Weber and Marquise Gray, the Gophers took advantage of some confusion in the USC secondary, and Weber threw an outstanding pass to WR Da’Jon McKnight, who made an even better catch against blanket coverage and strolled in for a touchdown.

The extra point put the Gophers ahead of the Trojans 14-13 with 5:47 remaining in the third quarter.


Gophers Intercept Barkley To Start Second Half

The Gopher defense has played a good game today, for the most part, and have started the second half with a bang.

After a personal foul penalty put USC in a second-and-long situation, Matt Barkley tried to get it all back at once, and was intercepted by Minnesota’s James Manuel at the Gophers’ 35.

Adam Weber and company will take over there, still trailing the 18th-ranked Trojans by a score of 13-7.


Dueling Interceptions End First Half; Trojans Still Lead 13-7

A strange ending to the first half has us going into the locker room with the Trojans still holding a 13-7 advantage.

Adam Weber, on a third-and-long play, threw a terrible interception when he probably should have just taken the sack However, on the next play, USC’s Matt Barkley returned the favor by throwing one straight to Gopher safety Kyle Theret.

The Gophers took a knee, presumably trying to run out the clock. . .and, presumably, forgetting that USC still had all three of their time outs. The Gophers wound up punting. . .and it was nearly blocked. . .and USC then knelt out the clock to take a 13-7 lead to the locker room.

We’ll be back with updates for the second half as well, so keep it right here!


Strange Call Gives Trojans Good Field Position

After forcing the Trojans to punt, a strange play may have given USC an advantage.

The punt went into the air, and as freshman safety Brock Vereen was going downfield to cover, the ball (apparently) hit him in the back, and the Trojans recovered in Minnesota territory.

Replays were insufficient to overturn the play, and the Trojans kept the ball. Two negative plays, however, have USC facing third and long.

With less than four minutes left in the first half, the Gophers still trail 13-7.


Trojans Take Advantage Of Bad Special Teams, Take 13-7 Lead

After a shanked punt by the Gophers failed to pin USC deep, the Trojans took advantage.

Quarterback Matt Barkley took only four plays and 1:37 to drive the Trojans 77 yards, concluding the drive with a 53-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Ronald Johnson.

The Trojans, inexplicably, went for two instead of kicking the extra point, and the Gophers stopped the attempt short of the end zone.

With 11:53 remaining in the first half. . .No. 18 USC 13, Gophers 7.


Trojans Answer Back, Tie Game At Seven

After an early touchdown gave the Gophers the lead, the USC offense went back down the field, converting a fourth down along the way, and scored on a three-yard touchdown run by Marc Tyler.

Trojan drive covered 60 yards in 13 plays, taking 5:28 off of the clock.

With 1:41 left in the first quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. . .Gophers 7, No. 18 USC 7.


Gophers Take Early Lead, 7-0

After going three and out on their first possession and watching the Trojans miss a field goal, the Gophers have taken an early lead against sixteenth-ranked USC at TCF Bank Stadium.

Keyed by a 34-yard catch and run by Marquise Gray, the Gophers capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by DeLeon Eskridge.

The Gopher drive covered 69 yards in 9 plays, and took 4:14 off of the clock.


Gophers Host University of Southern California; Hope To Bounce Back

GAME NOTES: The 18th-ranked USC Trojans pay a visit to the Twin Cities for the first time in 30 years, as they take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers in non- conference play at TCF Bank Stadium.

This is the seventh all-time meeting between the two programs, but the first since the Trojans claimed a 24-7 victory at Minnesota in 1980. Overall, USC leads the all-time series 4-1-1 and has won the last three encounters with Minnesota.

The Trojans enter the contest undefeated under new head coach Lane Kiffin, who came over following a one-year stint at Tennessee. Kiffin, who spent six seasons (2001-2006) as an assistant at USC under Pete Carroll, made his home head coaching debut this past weekend in a less than stellar 17-14 victory over Virginia.

"This is probably the most miserable 2-0 locker room I've ever been in, which is good. Our players understand the standards we want to have here. We expect to play better than that," Kiffin said.

Still, it was the 18th consecutive non-conference win for USC, which opened the campaign with a 49-36 triumph at Hawaii.

As for the Gophers, they come into the game with less confidence following a shocking 41-38 home loss to South Dakota, a FCS program, last weekend.

"As I just told the team, the depth of my disappointment right now, you cannot measure it," stated head coach Tim Brewster. "I do not want to discredit South Dakota in any way. I want to make sure we give them the proper credit but it certainly is an unacceptable loss on our part by our team."

The loss got a four-game homestand started off on the wrong foot and was surprising following a 24-17 victory against a solid Middle Tennessee club on the road to begin the season.

The Trojans were sloppy and out of sync in their home opener this past weekend, as they managed only 17 points and suffered 13 penalties for 150 yards. The offense gained a modest 329 total yards, well off the 524 yards gained versus Hawaii in the opener. QB Matt Barkley threw for 202 yards and a pair of scores in the win, but it was far less impressive then his five-TD performance in the opener. Ronald Johnson, who had four total scores against Hawaii, wasn't much of a factor last weekend, catching five passes for 58 yards. The ground attack didn't play a big part either, posting just 127 yards after gaining 246 in the opener.

USC's defense mostly kept Virginia in check this past weekend, yielding just 340 total yards. That was a big improvement after Hawaii torched the Trojans for 588 total yards. Virginia converted just 17-of-36 pass attempts and only 4-of-15 third downs against USC, which came up with a pair of sacks as well. The defense however, has forced just one turnover through the first two games and that is an area in need of improvement going forward. T.J. McDonald headed the defense last weekend with 14 tackles and an INT, while Wes Horton tallied a sack for the second time in as many games.

The Gophers got off to a slow start last weekend and simply could not overcome South Dakota in a 41-38 loss. Minnesota, which trailed by as many as 18 points, did show good balance between the run (204 yards) and pass (258) in the setback. Despite losing a pair of fumbles, QB Adam Weber had a nice game, completing 21-of-31 tosses for 258 yards and three TDs. It was a nice bounce back for Weber, who wasn't all that impressive in the opener with 150 yards passing and no scores. TB Duane Bennett is another weapon for this offense and he has cracked the century mark in each of the first two games. After going for 187 yards in the first game, Bennett rushed for 104 yards and a pair of TDs this past weekend.

Defensively, the Gophers were exploited in the loss to South Dakota, which had six total TDs with an even split between run and pass. South Dakota did most of its damage through the air, passing for 352 yards on an efficient 21-of-30 tosses. Minnesota came up with two picks, but simply couldn't slow down South Dakota on a consistent basis. It was a far different story in the opener when the Gophers gave up just 318 total yards, while the defense spent less than 15 minutes on the field. Mike Rallis led the defense with 7.5 tackles and his second INT of the season in last weekend's loss.

USC hasn't been all that impressive, but its hard to expect Minnesota to pull off the upset after it just lost at home to a FCS program. Expect the Trojans to come out on top, although it may not be pretty again.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: USC 34, Minnesota 17

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