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100 Day Sun Devil Football Countdown to Kickoff, #21: Beating USC in 2011

An amazing image from ASU's signature win. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
An amazing image from ASU's signature win. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Getty Images

It had been no secret in recent years: the USC Trojans have owned the Arizona State Sun Devils on the gridiron. In fact, ASU lost 11 consecutive games to USC, with their last win in the series coming on November 7, 1999. In 2011, expectations were high for the Devils, and the Trojans stood in the way of destiny.

We've already talked about Vontaze Burfict's domination of Matt Barkley earlier in the countdown, but this game was bigger than a one-on-one matchup. It was a statement by the Sun Devils -- one that proved that ASU had the talent to compete with any team in the country.

Arizona State went into the 4th quarter with a 28-22 lead, led by Cameron Marshall and Brock Osweiler. In a stunning performance, the Sun Devils went from six point lead to 21-point victory, dominating the Trojans in the final minutes.

Matt Barkley and the Trojans started the quarter on offense with the ball on their own 37-yard line, quickly driving into Sun Devils territory. They made it all the way to the ASU 14-yard line before Barkley was sacked, in the process fumbling the ball -- recovered by the Sun Devils.

Once again, the Trojans had a costly turnover in a key spot. Two fumbles recovered and an interception by Vontaze Burfict gave the Devils a lot of momentum in this game.

But would it be enough?

Off the turnover, the Devils drove down the field, gobbling up 3:33 of game time and scoring a big touchdown. They added the two-point conversation to take a commanding 36-22 lead with only 6:48 left in the game.

ASU kicker Alex Garoutte sent the ball out of bounds on the kickoff, giving the Trojans the ball at their own 40-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Barkley was wrapped up and made an ill-advised pass that was intercepted for a touchdown by Shelly Lyons. With 6:37 left in the game, ASU was up 43-22, and that's how it would end.

One thing I'll never forget: the dust storm in the first quarter. The wind blew in from the southwest, crossing the stadium towards the northeast. It wrecked havoc on the kicking game (Alex Garoutte's kickoff was fielded at the 18-yard line) and Matt Barkley's passes were affected by the abrupt change in conditions.

This fan video does a great job of illustrating the wind and the debris flying around the stadium.

After 11 seasons of mediocrity, ASU finally brought home a win against their hated rivals from Southern California. What's your memory of the big USC victory? Tell us in the comments.

See the previous entries on House of Sparky's 100 day countdown here