Arizona overcame a 15-point deficit in the third quarter to stun Southern California, 39-36, and end any national title hopes the Trojans may still have had.
Unranked Arizona earned selection as the Week 9 winner of the United States Sports Academy’s 2012 College Football Game of the Year Contest for its upset of No. 9 USC in a game in which the two teams combined for 1,206 yards of offense.
Arizona trailed Southern Cal, 28-13, to start the third quarter but then the Wildcats’ scored four straight touchdowns with quarterback Matt Scott leading the way. He threw TD passes of 7 and 9 yards and rushed 10 yards for a TD. Scott completed 27 of 50 passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns and ran 15 times for 100 yards and one score.
It was enough to top record-setting days by USC wide receiver Marqise Lee and quarterback Matt Barkley. Lee eclipsed the Pac-12 record for receiving yards, finishing with 16 catches for 345 yards and two touchdowns. He ended up with 469 all-purpose yards. Meanwhile, Barkley matched Carson Palmer’s school record for 400-yard games with his third and threw for a USC record of 493 yards.
In the end, the Southern Cal duo could not connect on a desperation heave with five seconds left in the game when an Arizona defender batted the throw to the ground in the end zone.
A national panel of experts selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Contest. Each week’s winner is considered for the award honoring the best College Football Game of the Year at the end of the season.
This committee is currently chaired by Jack Lengyel, the former athletic director at the United States Naval Academy. Lengyel was also a college football coach best known for being the head coach who resurrected the Marshall University football program, as depicted in the 2006 film, “We Are Marshall.”
Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy, also known as America’s Sports University, donates the painting and $5,000 to the general scholarship fund of the annual winner.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu