Gopher Rally Falls Short in 19-17 Loss

USC 19, Minnesota 17
L.A. Memorial Coliseum • Los Angeles, Calif..

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
 Minnesota 0 3 7 7 17
 #25 USC
6 13 0 0 19
Final Stats
Attendance: 68,273

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Radio Replay (available on-demand later)

 Statistical Leaders
 • Rushing: Duane Bennett - 15 Att, 53 Yds, TD
 • Passing: Marqueis Gray - 7-12-0, 94 Yds
 • Receiving: Marcus Jones - 3 Rec, 51 Yds
 • Defense: Troy Stoudermire - 11 Tkl, 2.0 TFL, 1 PBU
 Scoring Summary
 First Quarter
USC 5:52 Woods 7 TD pass from Barkley (2pt failed)
 Second Quarter
USC 9:25 Woods 43 TD pass from Barkley (2pt failed)
MIN 4:07 Hawthorne 21 FG
USC 0:49 Woods 2 TD pass from Barkley (Heidari kick)
 Third Quarter
 MIN 9:37 Bennett 9 TD run (Hawthorne kick)
 Fourth Quarter
MIN 8:03 Green 12 TD pass from Shortell (Hawthorne kick)
 Stats at a Glance
MINN USC
 • First Downs 20 24
 • Total Offensive Yards 303 368
 • Passing Yards 192 304
 • Rushing Yards 111 64
 • Penalties-Yards 8-44 8-75
 • Turnovers 1 0
 • Punts-Avg. 4-45.2 4-37.2
 • Punt Returns-Avg. 0-0.0 2-10.0
 • Kick Returns-Avg. 4-22.0 4-18.3
 • 3rd-Down Conversions 6-14 6-13
 • 4th-Down Conversions 1-1 0-2
 • Time of Possession 27:16 32:03
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Sept. 3, 2011

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Second half touchdowns from Duane Bennett and Brandon Green pulled Minnesota within two points late in the fourth quarter. But the Gophers couldn't complete the rally to give first-year head coach Jerry Kill a victory over 25th-ranked Southern California in his first game at the helm as  Minnesota fell to USC, 19-17.

The furious comeback saw the Gophers outscore USC 14-0 in the second half. Minnesota was even in a position to drive for the win after getting the ball back with 2:04 to play at it its own 9-yard line.

The Gophers were able to drive to the 28, but Max Shortell, who came on to relieve Marqueis Gray, was intercepted by the Trojans Torin Harris at the Minnesota 42 to essentially kill the game.

Shortell completed 7 of 13 for 98 yards in relief of starter Marqueis Gray, who left the game in the third quarter with cramps.

Robert Woods caught a school-record 17 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Trojans.

Eleven of Woods receptions came in the first half, totaling 115 yards and the trio of touchdowns.

Matt Barkley completed a school-record 34 passes for 304 yards for the Trojans, who were held scoreless by the Gopher defense in the second half but still held on for the victory.

In his first collegiate game, Shortell threw a 12-yard TD pass to Brandon Green with 8:03 to play to get the Gophers within two points.

Gray passed for 94 yards and rushed for 48 more in his first collegiate start at quarterback.

Duane Bennett rushed for 53 yards and a score for Minnesota, which hadn't visited the Coliseum since 1979 and hasn't won a game in California since 1964.

When USC headed to the locker room with a 19-3 halftime lead, Kill gathered the Gophers around him on the sideline for a few pointed words before they went up the tunnel.

Minnesota came out stronger in the second half, stopping USC's opening drive with a 32-yard loss when a fourth-down snap sailed over Barkley's head, followed by a quick Gophers drive ending with Bennett's 9-yard TD run.

The Gopher defense really came together after the break lead by the secondary. Brock Vereen, Kim Royston and Troy Stoudermire each finished the game with double figures in tackles, lead by Vereen's game and career high 13 total stops.