QB Golsen still a work in progress

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Everett Golson didn't do much last time out to make anyone think he'll be the quarterback to lead Notre Dame back to glory.

His first pass against Michigan was intercepted, the Fighting Irish offense sputtered the five series he was in, and in his final play before being yanked in the second quarter, he lofted up an interception instead of throwing it out of the end zone. Because of his carelessness, he was replaced by backup Tommy Rees, last year's starter, who for the second time this season led the ninth-ranked Fighting Irish (4-0) to victory.

Despite the poor play against Michigan, and the disappointing numbers, coach Brian Kelly remains firmly behind Golson, saying he sees him developing every day in practice.

"An analogy that I like to use is, he's still cooking. We've taken him out of the oven. He's still learning all of the things that are not necessarily visible from game film," Kelly said.

Learning on the job isn't easy, especially with an impatient fan base eager to see an end to a national championship drought that dates to 1988. The Irish defense appears to have the potential, but so far the offense hasn't matched up. Golson has been one of the reasons the offense has stumbled.

He has a pass efficiency rating of 121.06, placing him 98th in the nation. He has played well at times, but not great. Offensive coordinator Chuck Martin said the struggles Golson is facing aren't unusual for a sophomore who didn't play as a freshman, saying the coaching staff didn't expect Golson to be great this year.

"It's very rare to be great all the time. You might be great in spurts or great on plays or great for a period of time, or even a whole game you might have a completely great game," he said.

Golson hasn't been made available to talk with the media since after the win at Michigan State. Kelly said it's not because he doesn't want Golson facing scrutiny, but because he's facing a difficult class schedule.

Golson isn't to blame for all of Notre Dame's offensive problems. The Irish rank 84th in rushing offense, 85th in passing offense and 95th in total offense. The good news is they play Saturday against Miami (4-1), which is ranked 114th in total defense.

The Irish coaches say Golson has the physical tools necessary to be successful. Martin said part of Golson's trouble is at times he knows what he should do, such as changing plays at the line of scrimmage, but he "flinches."

"He doesn't flinch all the time, he's made some great run checks this year. Other times he's kind of hesitated. Like he'll come off and say, 'I should have. ...,'Martin said. "So the nice thing is you know the knowledge is there. It' just about experience."

Tigers struggle with lack of depth

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU is about to hit the toughest part of its schedule now with a handful of key players either unable to suit up or hobbled with injuries.

Turns out the dismissal of the honey badger, Tyrann Mathieu, was only one of several episodes of misfortune for the fourth-ranked Tigers.

At least four players who were projected starters back in early August won't be on the field for LSU (5-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) at No. 10 Florida (4-0, 3-0) on Saturday.

--Linebacker Tahj Jones has not played because of academic problems.

--Left tackle Chris Faulk, arguably the top pro prospect on the offensive line, is out for the season with a knee injury that he suffered during practice.

--Top running back Alfred Blue is sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury from LSU's third game against Idaho.

--Then last Saturday, J.C. Copeland, a 270-pound fullback with three touchdowns this season, injured his knee against Towson.

Copeland returned to practice on Wednesday and still could play. If not, that would further test LSU's depth against the Gators, who had last week off and are getting healthier.

No.13 USC 38, Utah 28

SALT LAKE CITY -- Matt Barkley passed for 303 yards and three touchdowns, including an 83-yarder to Marqise Lee in the fourth quarter, and No. 13 Southern California came back from a two-touchdown deficit to beat Utah 38-28 Thursday night.

Utah (2-3, 0-2 Pac-12) forced turnovers 1:16 apart to open the game, including a play by Nate Fakahafua to score from 8 yards out after stripping the ball from Barkley after a bad snap.

But the Trojans (4-1, 2-1) turned the tables in the fourth, scoring twice in a span of less than 3 minutes to turn a 3-point game into victory in their first trip to Salt Lake City in 95 years.

Barkley connected with Lee with 12:10 remaining, then cornerback Nickell Robey intercepted a pass by Jon Hays and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown.

Lee finished with 12 catches for 192 yards. The teams combined for 736 yards of offense and 222 yards in penalties.

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