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September 29, 2013
Just hours after the Trojans gave up a record-tying 62 points to Arizona State in Tempe, USC athletic director Pat Haden announced that head football coach Lane Kiffin was relieved of his duties.
According to the university's official release, Haden broke the news to Kiffin just hours after the game ended:
"Haden informed Kiffin of his termination upon the team charter's arrival back in Los Angeles early Sunday morning following USC's 62-41 loss at Arizona State."
Postgame, Kiffin addressed the media regarding his job status yet again coming into question.
"I'm fine with that. I have been dealing with that for 12 months," Kiffin said. "That's fine. That's the last thing I'm worried about. We have to find a way to coach better and play better and get our backups ready."
Stepping in and taking over head coaching duties is assistant head coach, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron. Orgeron has three seasons of head coaching experience at Mississippi from 2005-2007.
After starting 2012 ranked No. 1 in the country, Kiffin's Trojans floundered to a 7-6 record including a embarrassing loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. USC lost 5 of its last 6 games last season and have now lost 7 of the last 11 games overall.
In two of those losses the Trojans gave up the most points (62) in the programs history, losing 62-51 to Oregon in 2012 and 62-41 to Arizona State Saturday night.
But the most disturbing stats for the Trojans are where Kiffin's expertise lie, on the offensive side of the ball.
Over six of the last eight games the USC offense has failed to score a point in the third quarter. This season the Trojans are No. 112 out of 123 FBS teams in third down conversions (27.7%). Both Georgia Tech and Washington State held USC to just 7 points.
The Trojans have also seen a downturn in recruiting over the past year.
Rivals.com had USC as the top-ranked recruiting class in the country in 2012 until the team's collapse on the gridiron prompted several four and five-star prospect to decommit and sign with other schools.
So far in 2013 with just seven verbal commitments, the Trojans have the No. 62 ranked class overall and the No. 10 ranked class in the Pac-12.
The Trojans are now 3-2 and 0-2 in the conference play with Arizona coming to the Coliseum on Thursday, October 10. Kiffin's overall record in 4 years at USC was 28-15.
Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more updates on the USC head coaching search.