USC-Minnesota: Gophers Fall Just Short Against Trojans, 19-17

For more on Jerry Kill and the USC game, head on over to The Daily Gopher.

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Minnesota At USC: Golden Gophers Fall To Trojans, 19-17

The Minnesota Golden Gophers had a shot at the end of the game to upset the USC Trojans, but a semi-controversial play-calling decision by Jerry Kill led to an interception from freshman Max Shortell and snuffed out the last drive of the afternoon, leading to a 19-17 loss for Minnesota.

The Gophers took over on the final drive on their own 9-yard line, and got a first down on a pass to Malcolm Mouton to the 19. He followed that up with an 8-yard hook-up with Da'Jon McKnight, but a one-yard scramble left the Gophers with 3rd and a short 1 from their own 27. Shortell lined up in the shotgun, and tried to hit McKnight on the left sideline, but he was intercepted by USC's Torin Harris at the 42-yard line. USC knelt down on the ball a few times, and the ball game was over.

It was a valiant effort by the Golden Gophers, as USC was very heavily favored going into this one, and they held the Trojans scoreless in the second half after looking pretty bad at times in the first half of play. Personally, I don't like the play call at the end by the Gophers, but it's hard to argue with a one-on-one situation with one of the Big Ten's best receivers. Overall, however, you have to like the effort that the Gophers put forward in this one, as they could have folded up the tents relatively early but fought through all the way to the end.

The Gophers' next game will be next Saturday, as they will host the New Mexico State Aggies in the home opener at TCF Bank Stadium. We'll have a look at that one, and a full wrap-up of this one, right here at SB Nation Minnesota.

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Minnesota At USC: Shortell Gets Gophers Within Two Points Of Trojans

If Max Shortell is nervous about making his big debut today, he's hiding it well.

Shortell, the true freshman that has come in to relieve an injured MarQueis Gray, led an outstanding drive to get the Minnesota Golden Gophers to within two points of the USC Trojans in the 2011 season opener. The Gophers now trail by a score of 19-17.

The Gophers took over at their own 17-yard line, and Shortell wasted little time as he connected with Marcus Jones for 23 yards. Minnesota appeared to be in trouble, facing 4th and 7 at the USC 46-yard line, but Shortell remained calm and hit Da'Jon McKnight for a 12-yard gain to keep the drive alive. Shortell kept moving the Gophers down the field, and eventually found Brandon Green on a 12-yard catch and run to get the Gophers their second touchdown of the game. Chris Hawthorne hit the extra point, and the Gophers are now within two points of the heavily-favored Trojans.

With five minutes left in the game, the Trojans have the ball, and Minnesota is trying to get it back, trailing 19-17.

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Minnesota At USC: MarQueis Gray Out At QB; Max Shortell In

Welcome to college football, Max Shortell.

Near the end of the third quarter of the Minnesota Golden Gophers' game against the USC Trojans, he has suffered a series of injuries. On a 19-yard keeper, he landed on his thumb and got up wincing. Then, on what turned out to be the last play of the third quarter, he was tackled and got up hobbling. Gray attempted to get off of the field, but went down with what we hope is a cramp.

The third quarter came to an end without the Gophers taking another snap, and looking at a 3rd and 7 from their own 21-yard line, trailing 19-10. If Gray is unable to go, it will be up to the true freshman, Max Shortell, to come in and try to lead the team back. Shortell, a 6'6", 225-pounder from Shawnee Mission, Kansas, was a prized recruit for Jerry Kill this year, and we might get a chance to see what he's got sooner than anyone might have expected. . .or hoped.

Again, Marqueis Gray is out at quarterback for the Golden Gophers, and Max Shortell is in. As we start the fourth quarter of play, the Gophers are down by a score of 19-10.

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Minnesota At USC: Gophers Convert Huge Gift Into Touchdown

The Minnesota Golden Gophers may have just gotten the momentum changer they were looking for against the USC Trojans.

After stopping the Trojans at the Minnesota 34-yard line and leaving them with a 4th and 6 situation, the snap from center went well over the head of quarterback Matt Barkley, and by the time the scrum had cleared up, linebacker Mike Rallis was on top of the football at the USC 30-yard line, and the Gophers were in business.

It didn't take long for them to convert, as Marqueis Gray first found Malcolm Moulton for a 17-yard completion to put the ball into the red zone at the 13. After a four-yard keeper by Gray, he handed to Duane Bennett on second down, and the senior running back found his way into the end zone from nine yards out to close the gap to 19-9. Chris Hawthorne added the extra point to make it 19-10 in favor of Southern Cal.

Just a few minutes into the third quarter of the season opener, and the USC Trojans lead the Minnesota Golden Gophers by a score of 19-10.

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Woods Gets His Third Touchdown Catch Of The Day; Trojans Extend Lead To 19-3

If anyone from the Minnesota Golden Gophers' coaching staff is reading this, you might want to start paying attention to that guy in the red jersey with the big, yellow "2" on the back of it.

Sophomore wide receiver Robert Woods hauled in his third touchdown pass of the day, this one from two yards out, to give the USC Trojans a 19-3 lead over the Gophers in their match-up this afternoon.

Woods caught four more passes on the drive for the Trojans, which covered 65 yards and took up the majority of what remains in the first half of play. He also had a very impressive kickoff return to get the drive started for the Trojans.

USC then, surprisingly, kicked the extra point rather than doing something strange, and the conversion was good.

Thus far, Woods has 11 catches. . .yes, before halftime. . .for 115 yards and the three touchdowns. In 20 pass attempts, Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley has only thrown two incompletions.

With less than a minute remaining in the first half of play, the USC Trojans lead the Minnesota Golden Gophers by a score of 19-3.

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Minnesota At USC: Gophers Get On The Board, Trail 12-3

The Minnesota Golden Gophers got plenty of help from the USC Trojans on their latest drive, with a personal foul penalty against the Trojans starting them at their own 47-yard line. However, a fairly impressive drive wound up netting the Gophers only a field goal, as they trail USC 12-3 in the season opener.

Quarterback Marqueis Gray got the drive going with a 17-yard fade to Da'Jon McKnight to move the Gophers into Trojan territory. A third down conversion to Malcolm Mouton kept the drive alive, and another personal foul against USC moved the Gophers down to near the USC 10-yard line. However, Gray's pass to Marcus Jones came up just short of the end zone, and Minnesota coach Jerry Kill decided to play it safe and get his team on the board. Chris Hawthorne connected on the field goal from 21 yards out, and the Gophers got their first points of the 2011 season.

With four minutes remaining in the second quarter of play, the Minnesota Golden Gophers trail the USC Trojans by a score of 12-3.

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Minnesota At USC: Trojans Extend Lead To 12-0 Over Gophers

Robert Woods has struck again, this time from a significantly longer distance.

The sophomore was featured prominently on USC's first drive, resulting in a 7-yard touchdown reception and a 6-0 lead for the Trojans. After the Gophers were forced to punt again, Woods hauled in another touchdown pass from USC quarterback Matt Barkley, this one from 43 yards out as he beat the Minnesota defense badly down the left side of the field.

The defense had been looking good after a shaky first drive, but Woods managed to get behind the defense with no real difficulty, and despite pass interference from a Gophers' defender, managed to haul in the pass to give the Trojans a 12-0 lead.

USC attempted to go for the two-point conversion after the touchdown, but Barkley's pass fell incomplete, so the lead remains 12-0 in favor of the Trojans.

There is a little more than nine minutes remaining in the first half of this one, and if the Gophers are going to get back into this thing, they're going to have to do it soon.

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Minnesota At USC: First Quarter Ends With Gophers Trailing Trojans, 6-0

After getting thumped on their first outing on the afternoon, the Minnesota Golden Gophers' defense stepped up against the USC Trojans.

USC got a quick first down to start their second drive, and looked to be well on their way to picking up another one and continuing down the field. However, Trojans' running back Curtis McNeal was stuffed for losses on both 2nd and 1 and 3rd and 2 to get the USC offense off of the field.

USC punter Kyle Negrete, however, did the Gophers no favors, as his punt pinned the Minnesota offense down at the 3-yard line. It looked like the ball would be spotted inside the 1, but the officials brought it a little farther away from the end zone.

With the second quarter now underway in southern California, the Minnesota Golden Gophers find themselves trailing the USC Trojans by a score of 6-0.

Keep it tuned to SB Nation Minnesota for all of your updates!

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Minnesota At USC: Trojans Take First Lead, 6-0

The offense looked fairly impressive on the Gophers' first drive.

As far as the Minnesota defense. . .well, the offense looked fairly impressive on the Gophers' first drive.

The USC Trojans, led by Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Barkley, made it look relatively easy against the Minnesota Golden Gophers' defense on their first drive of 2011, as Barkley hit sophomore Robert Woods five times for 33 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown that put the Trojans on the board, 6-0.

USC got a little fancy on their extra point attempt, going for a "swinging gate" sort of play where the center snapped it directly to tight end Rhett Ellison, but the Gophers' defense stiffened enough to keep him out of the end zone.

Overall, the USC drive covered 66 yards in 13 plays.

With 5:52 left in the first quarter of play, the USC Trojans lead the Minnesota Golden Gophers by a score of 6-0.

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Minnesota at USC: Promising First Drive Ends With Nothing

It wasn't always pretty, but the Minnesota Golden Gophers put together a fairly decent first drive against the USC Trojans to get things started.

After a false start on the first play, the first successful snap of the year was a give to running back Duane Bennett, who sprinted for 35 yards to near midfield. The Gophers also converted their first third down opportunity of the 2011 season, thanks to a nice pass from MarQueis Gray to tight end Eric Lair for 13 yards.

Unfortunately, the drive stalled after an incompletion on the next third down attempt, and the Gophers attempted a 51-yard field goal. Unfortunately, Chris Hawthorne's kick came up well short of its intended target, and Southern Cal took over at its own 34-yard line.

With a little more than ten minutes remaining in the first quarter of play, the Trojans have the ball near midfield with the game still tied at zero.

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Minnesota at USC: It's A Beautiful Day For Football

Then again, every day is a beautiful day for football, isn't it?

Ladies and gentlemen, the official kickoff of the 2011 college football season is just minutes away, as the Minnesota Golden Gophers will be battling the USC Trojans at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles. Whatever the result may be today, it's pretty clear that the weather will not be a factor, as things in southern California are absolutely gorgeous at the moment. Sunny skies, temperatures in the low 70s, and minimal winds are what we're looking at right now, and it certainly doesn't appear that that will change during the course of today's action.

Saw this interesting tweet leading up to gametime from Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Talking to LA writers, I'm hearing something I haven't heard in a long time: If Gophs win it will be because of coaching advantageless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Certainly haven't been able to say THAT about a Gophers' coach in a while, have we?

We will have all of the updates you're looking for right here, ladies and gentlemen, so keep it tuned to this stream for all of the action if you can't get the game on television anywhere.

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Gophers Injury Report: Week One

Arguably the strongest position for the Gophers entering the 2011 season is their linebacking corps. Keanon Cooper, Gary Tinsley, and Mike Rallis are going to be key componsents of a defense that had trouble stopping people in 2010. And 2009. And 2008…and so on.

And although none of the mshowed up on the Gophers injury report, two of their backups will not play, along with an offensive lineman.

Brendan Beal and Aaron Hill will not suit up on Saturday. Beal has a knee injury that was not disclosed, and coach Kill did not discuss the severity of it. Hill has not practiced for a week because of a hmstring injury, although are indications are it is getting better. Ryan Grant will replace Beal and backup Tinsley, and Joey Balthazor will step in for Hill and backup up Cooper.

Offensive tackle Josh Campion will not play, either. He is still suffering from the after affects of a concussion.

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Kill Continuing To Impress

Over at Off Tackle Empire, I was able to interview Dave Revsine, the lead studio host for the Big Ten Network, and we had an extensive interview regarding the entire conference, and we touched on Jerry Kill and his staff here in Minnesota. Revsine’s impressed:

I think Kill is going to do a great job. The HUGE thing that stood out with Minnesota was the continuity of the staff. Combined, his staff has been with him for 84 years, which is staggering when you think about it. Yeah, it’s a new situation, a new set of players, and it may be more difficult in some ways than in some of the other places he’s been—although I’ll tell you, he’s been in some tough situations—he’s been through this before. I have no doubt that they’ll get back to where they were when Coach Mason was there, minimum. They’ll go to a bowl game, be competitive, and occasionally have a great year. I have no doubt about that, because he’s a winner.

Kill takes the Gophers to Los Angeles to face USC on Saturday.

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USC-Minnesota: Gophers Set To Open Kill Era Saturday

For more on Jerry Kill and the USC game, head on over to The Daily Gopher.

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