USC’s Ronald Johnson steps back into spotlight against Oregon

USC receiver Ronald Johnson, who had taken a back seat to freshman Robert Woods the last few games, reemerged in the Trojans’ 53-32 loss against top-ranked Oregon on Saturday at the Coliseum.

Johnson, a senior, caught four passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a two-point conversion pass and returned four punts for 94 yards, including a 55-yarder that helped set up a third-quarter go-ahead touchdown.

Woods wasn’t bad, either. He had seen catches for 58 yards and returned eight kickoffs for 200 yards.

Trojans turn tricky

USC pulled off a trick play late in the first quarter that helped lead to a touchdown that gave the Trojans a 10-8 lead.


After a 24-yard punt return by Johnson, the Trojans had a first down at Oregon’s 48-yard line.

USC lined up in the wildcat formation, with tailback Marc Tyler a few steps behind center and quarterback Matt Barkley split wide to the right and receiver Johnson wide left.

Tyler took the snap, handed off to Johnson moving to his right, who then lateraled to Barkley moving back toward the center of the field.

Barkley lofted a pass downfield for receiver Woods, who was held up by Oregon rover Eddie Pleasant.

Pleasant was penalized for pass interference, giving the Trojans a first down at the 34. Five plays later, Tyler scored on a one-yard run.

Horton returns

Junior defensive end Wes Horton played for the first time since suffering a back injury Sept. 25 at Washington State.

Horton entered the game tied for the team lead with three sacks.

Freshman running back Dillon Baxter, who suffered a toe injury against Stanford, did not play until late in the fourth quarter.

Senior C.J. Gable, who suffered a bone bruise against California, did not return kickoffs, but he did play on the coverage team and also, in the fourth quarter, at running back.

New building announced

USC formally announced that it will build a new $70-million athletic department building, with ground-breaking scheduled for January 2011.

The three-story building will house coaches offices and a locker room for the football program. It also will include a weight room, athletic training room, academic center and digital media production facility for all of USC’s 21 sports.

“We are very excited about the number of donors who are stepping up with major gifts to make this project a reality for our student-athletes and their coaches,” USC President Max Nikias said in a statement.