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Sunday, November 18, 2012
Injury latest senior setback for Barkley

By Garry Paskwietz

Matt Barkley will miss USC’s game against Notre Dame on Saturday due to a shoulder sprain suffered last week against UCLA, Trojans coach Lane Kiffin announced Sunday night.

It will be the second time Barkley will sit out against Notre Dame at the Coliseum, after also missing the 2010 game with an injury.

To say the 2012 season has not gone as expected for Barkley would be an understatement. When Barkley announced he would be returning to USC for a senior season of “unfinished business,” there was a thought that this upcoming game against the Irish could play a pivotal role in helping propel the Trojans to a national title and Barkley to a Heisman Trophy. Instead, the Trojans have lost four games, are no longer ranked and Barkley fell out of the Heisman race weeks ago.

One of the reasons Barkley gave for returning to USC was to showcase the importance of finishing what you start. Through all the sanctions, all the tough times that he and his teammates had endured, Barkley was the face of the program and he wanted to see things through to the end, so it’s a shame this chapter will close this way, at least as far as home games in the Coliseum are concerned. The Trojans will conduct their annual senior tunnel salute prior to the Notre Dame game -- and while Barkley will come out to a big ovation with his teammates, he will do so with no hope of playing in the game.

It’s unclear if Barkley will be able to play in a bowl game, so there may still be a chance to see him in a Trojans uniform -- it just won’t happen at the Coliseum. As a young man who has represented college football and USC with class, Barkley deserved a better ending, and a chance to finish on his own terms.