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NCAA Game Summary - Southern California at Minnesota



(Saturday, September 18th)

Final Score: (18) Southern California 32, Minnesota 21

Minneapolis, MN (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 131 yards and a touchdown on 12 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 17-of-26 passes for 192 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the win.

"To have two [interceptions] in one game would get us beat down the road playing tougher competition. We're excited to be 3-0, but obviously we have a long way to go and a lot of stuff to work on," USC head coach Lane Kiffin said.

The Trojans' defense held Minnesota (1-2) to 307 total yards, with Adam Weber completing only 15-of-29 throws for 224 yards with two TDs and two picks in defeat, the Golden Gophers' second straight.

The Trojans, holding a precarious 13-7 lead, quickly moved into Minnesota territory on the first touch of the second half. However, a personal foul penalty wiped out a first-down completion, and James Manuel picked off Barkley on the next play at the Minnesota 35.

After converting two third downs on the ensuing possession, Weber connected with Da'Jon McKnight on 3rd-and-10 for a go-ahead 31-yard scoring strike despite tight coverage along the left sideline.

The lead didn't last long, as Woods hit a huge hole on the kickoff return and went 97 yards untouched the other way with 5:35 left in the third. Barkley's two-point pass fell incomplete.

The Gophers went three-and-out, and USC held the ball for the next five minutes. On the fourth play of the final stanza, David Ausberry got open thanks to a Barkley pump fake and hauled in a 21-yard toss in the end zone for a 26-14 cushion.

Following another unsuccessful Minnesota drive, Bradford rushed right up the middle and made his way to the left sideline en route to a 56-yard jaunt to paydirt with 8 1/2 minutes left, all but sealing the outcome in favor of the visitors.

"They certainly leaned on us in the second half with their run game...That's a big offensive line and a heck of a big running back," Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster said of Bradford.

Weber connected with MarQueis Gray on a meaningless 22-yard touchdown pass in the final minute.

After Joe Houston missed a 48-yard field goal on USC's first touch, Minnesota went down the field and scored on DeLeon Eskridge's one-yard plunge midway through the opening quarter.

The Trojans answered with a 13-play, 60-yard drive that Marc Tyler capped with a three-yard run.

Early in the second quarter, Ronald Johnson got behind the secondary and Barkley hit the receiver in stride for a 53-yard TD.

USC's two-point try failed, and it stayed a 13-7 game at halftime after both quarterbacks threw interceptions in enemy territory.

Game Notes

The Trojans, who were visiting Minnesota for the first time since 1980, have won their last 11 games against Big Ten squads...On Weber's first touchdown pass, he vaulted Bryan Cupito and Asad Abdul-Khaliq for the top spot on Minnesota's career touchdown list, which was previously 55...USC heads to Washington State next Saturday, while Minnesota looks to rebound against Northern Illinois.

09/18 20:23:26 ET