Posted by Adam Jacobi
With only a few minutes gone in the second quarter, the Minnesota Golden Gophers found themselves at USC's 42-yard line with a 4th and 2. The correct decision is to go for it in that scenario; Minnesota is not going to win this football game by completely shutting down the USC offense (as we'll see shortly), so any opportunity to maintain possession of the ball in USC territory would be enormously beneficial for Minnesota.
But since Tim Brewster is the head coach of Minnesota, Minnesota punted the ball anyway. And since Dan Orseske is Minnesota's punter, the punt only went to the 22-yard line, and the Trojans found themselves just 20 yards further away from the end zone than if Minnesota QB Adam Weber had spiked the ball on 4th down.
Sure enough, USC needed just two plays from scrimmage to get back to their own 42, both plays aided by poor tackling by Minnesota. Then, as if to drive the "this punt was stupid because Minnesota needs to at least try to score" point home with a railroad stake, USC QB Matt Barkley hit Ronald Johnson for a 57-yard touchdown to give USC their first lead of the game on the very next snap. Three plays. One touchdown. 13-7.
Outraged that Minnesota's errors in judgment were receiving all the attention of the day, Lane Kiffin had his charges attempt a two-point conversion--one that involved the questionably athletic Mitch Mustain trying to run the football--and it's 13-7 USC.