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Most memorable USC moments over the years

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By AUBREY KRAGEN
College Contributor Network

Last Saturday, USC went out with a bang in a 49-14 win over Notre Dame. It was the last game at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum for guys like Hayes Pullard and J.R. Tavai, and -- hold your applause -- Josh Shaw.

It was also the last time I ever attended a game at the Coliseum as a USC student. In my four years here, I've seen a team saddled with sanctions go 10-2, a team ranked No. 1 at the beginning of the season finish unranked, a coach get fired at an airport, and an aforementioned player create a media firestorm by pretending to save his nephew from drowning.

It only seems right to take a look back at some of the best games in Trojan football over the last four years. So without further ado, here's a ranking of the top five USC games in my time here:

5. Nov. 29, 2014 - USC 49, Notre Dame 14

Maybe this is only on here because it's fresh on my mind, but this game served as the perfect bounce-back from USC's crushing defeat at UCLA the week before. USC quarterback Cody Kessler looked nearly perfect, going 32-for-40 (80 percent) for 372 yards on his way to becoming the first quarterback to ever throw for six touchdowns against Notre Dame in the Irish's 125-year history.

4. Nov. 19, 2011 - #18 USC 38, #4 Oregon 35

This is the only game on the list that I didn't see in person, but I still vividly remember the thrill of winning. Fresh off an appearance in the national championship, Oregon was rolling in 2011, but didn't show up for the first half of the game that night.

USC went up 24-7 until Darron Thomas (who?) and the Ducks finally got their heads screwed on straight and mounted a comeback. With USC leading just 38-35, I held my breath and then rejoiced as Oregon's kicker missed a 37-yarder wide left, and USC snapped the Ducks' 21-game win streak.

3. Oct. 29, 2011 - #4 Stanford 56, #20 USC 48

Only loss on this list, but it's still one of the best games I've ever been to. Since I didn't follow college football closely growing up, it was my first time seeing a college overtime game, and it didn't disappoint.

Throughout the game, I stubbornly insisted that Andrew Luck wasn't that good (finished with a measly 330 yards and three TDs). His one mistake -- an interception returned for a touchdown -- put USC up a score with just three minutes to go, and the sold-out crowd at the Coliseum was sure the Trojans had the win in the bag. But Luck brought the Cardinal back and won in overtime, setting up a mini-rivalry that has been great for the past few years.

2. Nov. 26, 2011 - #10 USC 50, UCLA 0

This score was the most perfect thing I'd ever seen. A 49-0 or 52-0 scoreboard wouldn't have looked as beautiful next to the burning Olympic torch that night. The Bruins almost got on the board a few times, but gaffed every chance they got, as Kevin Prince threw a pick in the end zone and the team was stopped on fourth and goal with just under three minutes to go.

In what could have (and maybe should have) been Matt Barkley's last game at the Coliseum, he threw for 423 yards and six touchdowns. I really wish I had bragged about this game when I had the chance. But let's be real, LA is still a USC town.

1. Nov. 16, 2013 - USC 20, #5 Stanford 17

There's nothing quite like rushing the field. With ESPN College GameDay coming to campus that morning, the atmosphere was electric as the Trojans looked to avenge their last four straight losses to the Cardinal. USC kicker Andre Heidari played the hero as he nailed a 47-yard field goal with 19 seconds left.

Those next few seconds seemed to drag on forever, as Trojan fans were itching to break down the barriers and join the celebrating team on the field. It was a huge triumph for interim head coach Ed Orgeron and an unforgettable experience for the Trojan Family.

Fight on forever.


Aubrey Kragen is a senior at USC majoring in Communication. She was born in San Diego and is a fan of the Chargers, the Padres and the Spurs (because she needs at least one good team to root for). Follow her on Twitter: @aubreykragen
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