LOS ANGELES -- Not even an hour earlier, USC wide receiver Marqise Lee had to be helped off the field by two trainers, unable to put any weight on his left leg after making the fourth-down catch to set up the game-winning field goal against Stanford while thousands of fans celebrated on the Coliseum turf. But here was Lee, his trademark smile intact.
Turns out Lee just got kicked in the shin.
Everything else on this night went right for Lee, the supremely talented junior who has dealt with injuries, breakdowns in concentration and erratic play-calling this season. Lee caught six balls for 83 yards and a two-point conversion in the 20-17 win over the Cardinal, but none was bigger than the 13-yard slant to extend the Trojans' final drive.
Interim head coach Ed Orgeron called a timeout, but Lee said there was never any doubt that the offense would be put back on the field.
"I think he already had it in his mind that he wanted to go for it. Soon as I walked to the sideline, he said, 'We're going for it,' (and) I walked back out to the sideline," said Lee, doing his own imitation of Orgeron's heavy Cajun accent. "We went for it, got it."
Crediting a strong week of practice, Lee looked smooth and in control, putting to rest some of the criticism an AFC college scouting director discussed with NFL Media's Albert Breer on Friday. Lee ran crisp routes and excelled coming across the middle, was dynamic after the catch and sound on his ball security.
"Stanford won't let Lee beat them," the personnel man said.
Lee didn't beat Stanford all by himself Saturday, but he did deliver the play that helped finish the Cardinal off.