Pregame report: Gophers football vs. USC

Josh Katzenstein

 The most-hyped game in recent Minnesota football history is finally upon us as the Gophers host No. 18 Southern California at 2:30 p.m. 

Minnesota coach Tim Brewster promised to add top-notch non-conference teams to the Gophers schedule, and the Trojans are proof of his success in that regard. 

On paper, this USC team (2-0) holds a big advantage over the Gophers (1-1), but Minnesota is on a mission to erase the memory of last week 41-38 loss to South Dakota, a Football Championship Subdivision team.

The Trojans haven’t exactly been impressive in their two wins. In their opening 49-36 victory at Hawaii, the Warriors amassed 588 total yards in the losing effort. Last week USC hosted Virginia, a team predicted by many to finish last in the ACC, and only won 17-14. 

The key matchup in today’s game will be the Gophers secondary against Trojans sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley. The Gophers were torched by South Dakota’s Dante Warren last week, but Barkley doesn’t pose the dual-threat capability of Warren. Senior Kyle Theret is also back in the Minnesota lineup and will start at free safety.

The Gophers need to shut down the USC passing game to have a chance in this one. Minnesota hasn’t beaten a ranked opponent since No. 24 Michigan in 2006.

If you aren’t fortunate to join us at TCF Bank Stadium this afternoon, you can find the game on ESPN.