Following their mind-boggling collapse on the road to the Arizona Wildcats, USC’s title dreams will remain exactly that, a longing for what should have been but will ultimately never be. Trojan fans now can hope and pray to the football gods for a Rose Bowl berth but with Oregon and Notre Dame still to come on their schedule and a series of other events that would need to come to fruition for the Trojans to make the trip to Pasadena, that too is looking like a stretch. But there were some good things to take away from the Trojans loss, such as Marqise Lee’s stupendous performance and what that suggests about not only his future with Troy, but with the Trojans’ impending scuffle with Oregon this coming Saturday. Revisiting Saturday’s events, let’s further examine what more we have learned from this Trojan team:
5. Marqise Lee Is The Real Deal
When he signed with USC nearly two years ago, the people of Troy knew they were in for a treat. They knew to expect a crazy-fast, crazy-good wide receiver that would add excitement to USC’s receiving corps. They knew that he would compliment Robert Woods and the two of them would shock and amaze. What we didn’t know was that in two seasons he would vault himself into a league of his own. Playing with more heart and fire than we have seen from a Trojan since Steve Smith circa 2006, when he put up 258 yards in a losing effort to Oregon State—which, by the way, was USC’s first regular season loss in over three years—Lee gave his heart and soul only to see his efforts count for not. He shredded the Wildcats’ defense for yards on yards on yards, making it look easy as he burned defenders left and right. 345 yards later, his performance earned him a spot in USC’s record books for having the most receiving yards in a single game. He even sprinted all the way to the Arizona 27-yard line after Arizona’s final touchdown late in the fourth quarter to give USC a chance to come back and win this thing. Over the past few games he has shown an athleticism and elusiveness that we haven’t seen since a certain running back who donned a No. 5 jersey many moons ago. At the end of his freshman season in 2011, Coach Kiffin observed that Lee was progressing at a rate much further than fellow receiver Robert Woods was at that same point in his career the season prior.
Looks like Kiff knew exactly what he was talking about.