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USC Football: Ugly Win, But Matt Barkley To Robert Woods Oh So Pretty

The No. 25 USC Trojans didn't so much win their 2011 college football opener as they survived it, building a 19-3 halftime lead only to stall in the second half and hold on for a 19-17 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. There will be plenty of time to dissect what went wrong, but for now we can look at what went right: the Matt Barkley to Robert Woods connection.

Last year, Woods caught 65 passes for 792 yards and six touchdowns as a freshman, but he figures to blow by those numbers this season, and then some. Woods caught a new school record 17 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns, establishing a bond with his quarterback Barkley. Woods' 17 catches broke the USC record of 15, set by Johnnie Morton in 1993 against Houston.

Barkley and Woods were in the zone in the first half, when all three touchdowns were scored. Barkley completed 18 of 20 passes for 163 yards. On the day Barkley completed 34 of 45 passes on the day, setting a new school record of his own for completions, surpassing Todd Marinovich's 33 completions in 1989 against Notre Dame.

The Trojans have a week to get their act together, as they open Pac-12 play next Saturday at home against the Utah Utes. Barkley and Woods appear ready. But what about everyone else?

For more on USC football, check out Conquest Chronicles.