After two weeks, the jury is still out and the question remains:Which USC team will show up Saturday in Minnesota?Podcast: The Daily Trojan’s sports editors discuss Saturday’s game versus the Golden Gophers.Armed · Sophomore qurterback Matt Barkley has seven touchdown passes through two games this season, almost half of the total he threw in 2009. He leads the Trojans against Minnesota on Saturday looking to go undefeated in non-conference games. – Dieuwertje Kast | Daily TrojanAfter two uneven performances on both sides of the ball, the No. 18 Trojans (2-0) hope to see the explosive offense they showcased against Hawai’i and the stingy defense seen last week against Virginia in the 12:30 p.m. game.The Golden Gophers (1-1) have some questions to answer themselves, coming off a 41-38 loss to FCS opponent South Dakota. Minnesota coach Tim Brewster emphasized his team needed to move on and focus on the visiting Trojans.“It’s a big, physical, athletic football team,” Brewster said on Minnesota’s website. “They’ve got five-star football players across the board on their football team. A great deal of talent.”The Golden Gophers are led by the nation’s sixth-leading rusher in running back Duane Bennett, who has racked up 291 yards and two touchdowns on 48 carries.Minnesota quarterback Adam Weber, in his fourth year starting under center, has completed almost 65 percent of his passes and thrown three touchdowns.“They’re playing really well on offense,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “They’re running the ball extremely well, the tailback’s got a ton of yards [and] the quarterback’s rating is great.”Minnesota does not have as much going on defense (see the 41 points let up by South Dakota). Its defense returns only two starters from last year’s 6-7 squad.That could open the door for USC’s offense to have a more Hawai’i-type performance. If so, it will start with the running game. Redshirt junior running back Marc Tyler still leads the Pac-10 in rushing with 221 yards and is looking to bounce back after only 67 yards last week.More action is also expected from freshman running back Dillon Baxter, who made his debut against Virginia, carrying the ball nine times for 49 yards. It will be Baxter’s first road game after missing the Hawai’i game for violating team rules.“It should be a challenge,” Baxter said. “I guess people have been saying away games are pretty loud so we’ll see what happens.”USC’s offense also will need more stellar play from sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley.Despite throwing five touchdowns against Hawai’i, last week might have been Barkley’s more impressive performance considering how often he was forced to elude Virginia’s rush and throw on the run.The one unquestioned constant from USC’s first two games has been penalties. The Trojans lead the nation in the category, with 24 penalties for 240 yards.Kiffin said he would not discuss the issue with the media this week in hopes of taking pressure off his players.Injuries, especially on defense, will also be a concern as the Trojans struggle to stay fresh late into the game.Redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Nick Perry and junior defensive lineman Armond Armstead were limited in practice this week, and it will be a game-time decision as to whether the two play Saturday.Although the trip to Minnesota marks the Trojans’ second road trip of the year, this weekend marks the last one of this length.“This is two long trips in a row,” Kiffin said. “It’s good that we’ve done it before and it’s good that we’ve knocked the two long ones out right away.”The Trojans departed for Minneapolis Thursday after practice. USC has not faced Minnesota since 1980 but has won its last 10 straight contests against Big Ten opponents.
Defending champions Claire Dowling and Tracy Atkin retained the senior women’s Brenda King Foursomes at Gog Magog, Cambridge – to their great surprise.“We thought we’d thrown it away,” said Claire as she recounted the tale of their last five holes: bogey, bogey, bogey, double bogey, par. Tracy added: “It’s a bit of a surprise, we never imagined we’d still win. (Image © Leaderboard Photography)But despite the finish they pulled off a one-stroke win over the Surrey pair of Alison Gee and Debbie Richards, while Staffordshire’s Sue Spencer and Sally Sketcher were third, two shots further back.Sharing fourth prize were the Frilford Heath pairing of Annie Gowing and Kate Evans who have come so close over recent years, having also been runners-up twice and third. “We’re the bridesmaids,” laughed Annie.Claire (Copt Heath) and Tracy (Leamington & County) have played in this event twice and won twice, building on a friendship which dates back to their days as internationals. But, as they came down the 18th at the end of their second round they were planning their ‘retirement’. “We were talking about packing it in – but now we’ll be back next year!” said Tracy.They opened their defence yesterday with a score of 78 on the Wandlebury course, which put them in a share of second place and a stroke behind the Gee/Richards combination.Today, on the Old course, they reached the turn in two-over par, before they began to falter, eventually returning a second round score of 79.Behind them Alison Gee (Walton Heath) and Debbie Richards (Burhill) had lost their slender lead over the front nine but they kept battling, holing a birdie putt on 15 and hitting the pin on 16. With one hole to play they were sharing the lead once more, only to bogey the last to end their challenge.This was also their second appearance in the event, having come fifth last year. “Perhaps it’ll be third time lucky,” said Debbie as she looked ahead to next year.The handicap trophy was won by Sue Spencer (Whittington Heath) and Sally Sketcher (Trentham), who were playing in the Brenda King for the first time. Sue is a past Staffordshire captain, while Sally was simultaneously the second team captain.Leading final scores157 Claire Dowling (Copt Heath) & Tracy Atkin (Leamington and County) 78 79158 Alison Gee (Walton Heath) & Debbie Richards (Burhill) 77 81160 Sue Spencer (Whittington Heath) & Sally Sketcher (Trentham) 82 78162 Annie Gowing & Kate Evans (Frilford Heath) 82, 80; Karen Thompson & Gabi Heuchel (East Berkshire) 79 83165 Julie Ballard (Littlestone) & Sheila Stirling (Royal Mid Surrey) 83 82; Suzette Worthington & Paula Crabtree (Bristol & Clifton) 82 83 2 Oct 2013 ‘Surprised’ champions retain Brenda King foursomes