Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Top performances 2011: Matt Barkley
By ESPN.com staff ESPN.com
We're looking at the top individual performances in the Pac-12 in 2011.
Up next: Barkley rings UCLA's bell in Trojans victory.
Matt Barkley's decision to return and lead the band one more season solidifies him as a Trojans legend.
Who & against whom? Matt Barkley turned in perhaps the best performance by a quarterback in 2011 while leading USC to a 50-0 victory over rival UCLA.
The numbers: Barkley completed 35 of 42 passes -- 83.3 percent -- for 423 yards and six touchdowns and no interceptions.
A closer look: Barkley led the charge in the battle for the Victory Bell, providing the largest margin of victory in the series since the Trojans won 52-0 in 1930. Trojans fans chanted "One more year!" at Barkley throughout his epic performance, and you can see why no one thought Barkley would return for his senior season -- even coach Lane Kiffin. "Unless he wants to do it, just to be a special Trojan, he ain't coming back," Kiffin said after the game. "He's every bit ready to go to the NFL. It's just going to be a decision, does he want to do something really unique? He might be the guy to do that." With those six touchdown passes, Barkley eclipsed former USC quarterback Matt Leinart's single-season conference record for touchdown passes, finishing 2011 with 39. Just imagine if he could have played in a bowl game?