Continuing our series of detailed breakdowns of 2011's finest moments is a defensive play that instantly entered into the pantheon of greatest Sun Devil moments.
Arizona State was hosting No. 23 USC on a early October night. The Trojans had defeated ASU for eleven straight years, but this was the night that Sun Devil Nation had decided the streak was going to end.
The Sun Devils had rallied back from a Trojan surge to open the second half that put USC ahead 22-21. A Cameron Marshall touchdown and a Jamal Miles two-point conversion gave ASU a 36-22 lead. Even though ASU held that two touchdown lead with just 6:48 left in the game following the ensuing kickoff, the Trojans had the ball and far too much talent to be written off as dead.
Obviously in a pass-first rally mode, the Trojans lined up from their 40-yard line after Alex Garoutte's kickoff went out of bounds.
They had tailback Marc Tyler in a one-back set behind quarterback Matt Barkley, with one receiver split left. Tight end Rhett Ellison lined up off tackle to the left, and the Trojans had two receivers to Barkley's right, including the deadly Robert Woods wide.
The play called for a play-action look and a downfield read, with Tyler releasing to the right flat after the fake handoff.
The play began as designed, with Barkley dropping back and faking the handoff in a half-hearted manner. However, defensive end Jamaar Jarrett, lined wide, beat right tackle Kevin Graf with a speed move upfield. That pressure forced Barkley to step up in the pocket. As he turned the corner, Jarrett managed to get a handful of Barkley's jersey with his left hand, slowing the fleeing Barkley.
By that point, defensive tackle Will Sutton had gotten off the block of left guard Marcus Martin and came into Barkley's view. Under duress, Barkley lobbed a ball to the jogging Tyler, but sailed the pass high and beyond Tyler.
Left outside linebacker Shelly Lyons had dropped to the flat after reading the play-action pass correctly. He made an easy leaping interception of the pass at the 41-yard line and was home free, despite Woods' hustle in pursuit.
Now with a 43-22 deficit, the Trojans turned the ball over on down on their next possession, after which seven straight Marshall carries ate up all but 29 seconds of the game clock.
The Sun Devils had done it. They had ended the Trojans 11 years of dominance and taken control of the Pac-12 South. The win vaulted ASU to No. 25 in the standings and gave Dennis Erickson the signature win of his tenure.
As always, thanks to JediASU for his outstanding YouTube video work. Subscribe to his channel for great ASU football videos.
Follow me on Twitter @BDenny29 for the latest on ASU football