The 2012 season was full of disappointment for the Trojans and with those disappointments came a bevy of Epic Fails. Off the field and on the field, there was no shortage of moments for Trojan fans to shake their heads, face palm, or even attempt to rip out their hair in disgust. Here’s the Not-So-Top Ten Moments of the year:
10. Prep Not Hype
The team motto may have been painted on the practice field, but it failed to make a difference with a Trojan team that seemed to buy into the hype and consistently fell short in the prep.
9. Banning the Media
While it was plain to see what Coach Lane Kiffin was trying to do by no longer disclosing injury reports, the way he went about it created so much drama that any benefits got lost in a flurry of negative press and distractions. Worse, for Trojan fans it was the final nail in the coffin for the open practice era of USC football under Pete Carroll.
The Pac-12 fined and reprimanded the Trojans after it was determined that several game balls were not inflated to the right specifications during the first half of the Oregon game. A student manager was fired, but the whole controversy was just another unnecessary and embarrassing distraction during an already trying season.
7. Marqise Lee’s Fumble At the Half vs Oregon
With just under 30 seconds left in the half at the Oregon 15, USC had a chance to at least close within a touchdown or a field goal of the Ducks. Instead Lee coughed up the ball and Oregon went into the half up ten. Had the Trojans maintained possession and kicked for three points, the opening drive of the third quarter would have tied the game.
6. Missed Block Leads to Matt Barkley Injury vs UCLA
Aundrey Walker stood there looking around with no one in front of him to block. Unfortunately that’s because UCLA’s Anthony Barr was already barreling down on Matt Barkely’s blindside, untouched. The hit was brutal and the shoulder injury Barkley sustained as a result could keep him out of the Trojans’ first bowl since 2009.
5. Third Quarter Ineptitude
USC averaged just 5.2 points in the third quarter this season compared with 9.6 in the other quarters. The Trojans were outscored in the third in eight of 12 games. Where Pete Carroll’s USC was known for second half adjustments, the 2012 Trojans rarely came out of the half better than they started.
4. 14 Point Hole vs Utah
It was a trap game on the road and the opening script of the Utah game screamed upset. First, senior captain Khaled Holmes’ bad snap was returned for a Ute touchdown on USC’s opening possession then Star Lotulelei blew up Holmes on the second play of USC’s second drive resulting in a fumble and an eventual touchdown. Luckily the Trojans were able to overcome the 14 point hole with a 38-28 victory.
3. 62 Points Given Up vs Oregon
It was the worst defensive performance in USC history, giving up 62 points, 730 yards and nine touchdowns. End of story.
2. First Play Interception vs UCLA
Matt Barkley’s 14th interception of the year set up UCLA’s first score against USC since 2010 before the Bruins jumped to an early 24-0 lead at the Rose Bowl. What makes this fail even better (or worse), it was the second week in a row USC turned the ball over on the first play of the game (Marqise Lee fumbled on the first play against Arizona State).
1. The Worst Goal Line Sequence Ever Called vs Notre Dame
When Marqise Lee put USC at the two-yard line with 5:40 left in the game down just nine points, it looked like the Trojans might be on their way to mounting a comeback against the top team in the country. Instead, USC fans were treated to eight plays of mind-blowing, hair-pulling, atrociously awful play calling, featuring four attempts to run straight at the heart of a Notre Dame defensive front that stopped even Stanford’s vaunted rushing attack (without a lead blocker) and a fourth down pass aimed at a freshman fullback instead of two of the greatest receivers to ever wear Cardinal and Gold. The Trojans came away with no points, lost the game, and delivered the biggest Epic Fail of 2012.