6-Points: USC 23, Utah 14

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The Trojans reject Utah's game-tying field goal attempt and win the inaugural Pac-12 contest.

Click here to watch Lane Kiffin's press conference. 

Click here to watch Matt Barkley, Matt Kalil, DaJohn Harris and Marc Tyler talk to the assembled media after the game.

  • Kalil-Hammer.jpgMatt Kalil has a new nickname.  "The Hammer" blocked two field goals in as many games, which turned out to be vital considering both three-pointers could have cost the Trojans a victory.  "That's why we practice special teams for an extra 30 minutes each day to make plays like that," Matt Barkley said.  How many teams utilize a star left tackle on field goal block?  "As an offensive lineman, you don't get too many chances to get glory like that," said Kalil who had the entire team chanting his new nickname in the post-game locker room.  (Bottom photo by Pierson Clair)
  • Marc Tyler continued his redemption story with a grinding 113-yard rushing performance on 24 carries.  "I kinda thought it'd be that type of game," said Lane Kiffin who was not surprised Tyler became an offensive focal point.  The senior was written off by many after a series of off-the-field indiscretions in the offseason, but the head coach stood by him.  "I just love those stories," Kiffin said.  "There's so much negativity in college football.  It's just a cool story when kids make it like that."  Scroll down to watch our interview with Marc Tyler.
  • The defense has officially put 2010 in the past.  The 2011 unit was under pressure time and time again tonight and never folded.  "Our defense, they won the game for us," Barkley admitted.  While Kiffin would have loved to close the game with an offensive drive, he realized that the team needed this defensive performance to build confidence for the rest of the season.  "I'm excited that it finished this way," he said.  "I think it's important for this team."
  • Kalil-Blocked-Kick-PC.jpgMonte Kiffin has found a new favorite chess piece in Nickell Robey.  The sophomore cornerback lined up all over the field tonight, including coming after the quarterback in several blitz packages.  "I went out there and I just unleashed myself," said Robey who joked that he wants to get more sacks than Nick Perry.  "That's the goal, but it's going to be real hard to do it."
  • After several week one drops, the redshirt freshmen tight ends Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer responded with seven catches (no drops) for 94 yards and a TD.  Grimble led the way with a three catch drive culminating in his first USC touchdown.  "I can't even explain it.  I didn't know what to do, but it was a great feeling," said Grimble who watched his high school highlights to get his "swagger back." Of course, he did have a crucial fumble as well.  "I got hit right on the ball, but I should have had it high and tight."
  • For the second straight week, the Trojans dominated statistically, but found a way to make it interesting.  USC outgained the Utes by nearly 100 yards (416 to 319), but three turnovers and several key penalties cost them chances to run away with it.  "We just don't put people away," Kiffin said.  The head coach attributed many of the inconsistencies to youth.  "Freshmen mistakes showed up."
Extra point...

  • After the game, the Pac-12 counted Torin Harris' touchdown return on the blocked field goal, which makes the official final score 23-14.  They ruled it a dead ball foul on the bench, so the penalty would have been enforced after the play.  "The referee announced the penalty was against the bench," tweeted Mike Pereira who consults the Pac-12 on officiating.  "That means it couldn't be enforced because the game was over."
Here is Marc Tyler on his road back to glory and a physical night at the office...

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