Even though the Gophers fell behind early, they showed a lot of heart. Minnesota was able to shut out the Trojans in the second half, coming up with stops in key situations.
The new staff showed great second half adjustments on both sides of the ball.
After struggling to find any consistency early in the game, new quarterback MarQueis Gray seemingly found a groove late in the second quarter that carried over into the second half.
Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover opened up the offense and allowed the quarterbacks to throw against a Trojan defense that was stacking the box against the run.
The Gophers were much more aggressive on defense in the second half and did a better job of swarming to the ball.
The Gophers struggled for much of the first half trying to find a running game but was shut down for the most part against a stout USC front seven. For a team that hopes to establish a solid running game, a 3.3 yards per carry average will not be enough as the season progresses.
The offensive line also must improve in pass protection, which gave up sacks early but did improve later in the game.
On defense, the Gophers looked like they need more time to adjust to defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys' system, which calls for more quarter coverage. The Trojans were able to move the chains in the first half by attacking underneath that coverage.
The defensive line also failed to get a sack or put any pressure on Trojan's quarterback Matt Barkley in the first half but provided decent pressure in the second half.
For a staff that prides itself on discipline, the Gophers' coaching staff must have been livid after so many false start and delay of game penalties in the first half. The Gophers definitely shot themselves in the foot on a few drives with false start penalties.
The Trojans were also able to get their hands on two field goal attempts and deflect them at the line of scrimmage. The Gopher's will definitely have to start limiting their mental mistakes as the season progresses.
Despite a sloppy start to the game, this Gopher squad showed a lot of heart in the second half, scratching and clawing their way back into the game.
The biggest thing Minnesota fans can take away is the Gophers are a team will not quit even if they dig themselves into a hole. The staff will make solid second half adjustments to get them back into games.
The Gophers were also able to find out what Max Shortell brings to the table. Today he showed great moxy late in a close game against a very talented team and was able to lead the Gophers on a scoring drive in the fourth quarter.