Top 11 of 2011: Jaw-Droppers (Pt. 2)

SCPlaybook looks back at the 11 most jaw-dropping moments of the Trojans' 2011 season. Check back for part 3 later this week...

Everyone does end of the year lists.

Some give you the quickest ways to lose weight, some the top-10 recipes.

We don't care about any of that stuff here at SCPlaybook.

We do, however, care about football.

So without further ado, here is part two of the Trojans' Top 11 jaw-dropping moments of 2011: (Eleven in 2011, get it?) Click here for part one.

Seven:
Satisfaction in South Bend
I remember sitting in the press box thinking the biggest news of the weekend would surely be Dillon Baxter's absence. I was completely wrong.

Marc Tyler, with 67 rushing yards in the game, set the tone for USC's offense, gritting through pain after dislocating his shoulder the previous week. It was a huge transition game for the running backs as Tyler handed down the torch to McNeal, who rushed for 121 yards in 24 carries.

But the Trojans attacked their rival in the air too. Barkley was 24 of 35 for 224 yards and three touchdowns that night. He didn't get intercepted or sacked once.

After losing to Notre Dame --at the Coliseum-- in Kiffin's first year at the helm, the Trojans' tasted sweet victory by beating the Fighting Irish 31-17 on their home turf.

In the grand scheme, it was the win that made the rest of the country take this young team seriously.

Six:
The Armstead Situation
There's a lot of confusion here. Still. Till this day many reporters and even insiders don't know all the facts surrounding Armond Armstead's condition and his relationship with USC's coaching and medical staffs.

What we do know is that USC was taking extreme precaution in a delicate situation that forced then-senior Armstead to redshirt during a season that, had he played, would likely have put him high on NFL draft boards.

A bad situation got worse when Gus Armstead, Armond's dad, told the media that his son has "been fine the whole time." Subsequently, younger brother Arik, Scout's number one player in the nation for the class of 2012, decommitted from the Trojans.

Fans are left confused, after watching their beloved defensive lineman enter games and make plays since 2008. Armstead appeared in 9 games in 2008, started 5 games in 2009, and started all of his 2010 season.

While the rumor mill churns, Armstead has declined any comment about his situation. It is likely that some sort of decision will be made within two weeks, though, as he has until mid-January to enter his name for the NFL draft. Brother Arik, who plans to play basketball as well as football at his future university, doesn't have a date set for his decision.

Five:
Farmer's Big Move
Initially considered as a 2011 redshirt, five-star recruit George Farmer was moved to running back in the beginning of October.

There were concerns about the prized recruit's ability to take hits. A longtime receiver, Farmer showed he and his 6'1, 205-pound frame can withstand the pressure. He suffered a ankle injury early and didn't log a ton of time late in the season, but his toughness wasn't up for debate. The question then became whether he wanted to play tailback or not.

When you talk to Farmer, it's clear he just wanted to get in the game. Known for being a playmaker, to sit on the sidelines was tough for the Serra High product, especially when his high school teammates in Marqise Lee, Robert Woods and Da'John Harris were out there racking up numbers.

So Farmer did what he had to. And despite vocalizing a desire to line up at receiver again, Farmer is --for now-- being used as both a tailback and receiver. This could prove beneficial next year if he adjusts to this role, as he'd be able to line up from various spots, an obvious challenge for opposing defenses.

Removing his redshirt was a major move for Lane Kiffin, and while some say Farmer is not meant to play running back, the motto: "it's better to have him than not" probably applies here.

Four:
Triple-Overtime...
I've watched a lot of college football games before. But I've never had my mouth hit the floor after one ended, like I did after Stanford-USC in 2011.

Curtis McNeal's costly fumble ended the game but that four-hour contest wasn't a product of one play. More than half the Coliseum's sellout crowd of 93, 607 stood there, minutes after the final result.

Emotions exhausted and statistics gaudy, the performance by both teams was one that made this game an instant classic.

While USC was left inches from an incredible feat, for any fan of college football, Stanford's 56-48 triple overtime win had to be appreciated.


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