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A late Heisman Trophy push by Marqise Lee

USC FOOTBALL FYI

The USC receiver gets an endorsement from 11 fans who painted their bodies to say LEE4HEISMAN.

November 24, 2012|By Gary Klein
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USC receiver Marqise Lee had the national spotlight to make his case for inclusion among the Heisman Trophy finalists.

Eleven fans in the front row of the student section painted their bodies to read: LEE4HEISMAN.

The sophomore made a late push in USC's 22-13 loss to top-ranked Notre Dame at the Coliseum on Saturday.

Lee caught five passes for 75 yards and finished the season with a school-record 112 catches. He also returned four kickoffs for 98 yards and finished with 172 all-purpose yards.

Lee is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to the nation's top receiver.

Te'o comes through

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o once was leaning toward attending USC.

But the senior came up big again for the Fighting Irish and strengthened his position as a Heisman candidate.

Te'o intercepted Max Wittek's first pass of the second half to stop the Trojans from gaining any momentum.

It was Te'o's seventh interception this season.

He finished with five tackles.

McNeal effective

USC tailback Curtis McNeal, who rushed for more than 160 yards in each of the last two games, got off to a good start against the Fighting Irish.

The fifth-year senior ran the ball off left tackle four consecutive times for 26 yards.

McNeal gave way to Silas Redd early in the second quarter. The Penn State transfer, who was sidelined against Arizona State and limited against UCLA because of a leg injury, broke off runs of 15 and 24 yards on his first two carries.

Redd finished with 77 yards in 12 carries, McNeal 38 yards in nine.

Heidari returns to form

USC kicker Andre Heidari was struggling coming into Saturday's game.

The sophomore had missed a field-goal attempt against UCLA, had another blocked and also missed an extra point in last week's 38-28 loss at the Rose Bowl.

But Heidari, who had knee surgery in September, kicked a 39-yard field goal with 5:30 left in the first half against Notre Dame, which helped the Trojans cut a six-point deficit to 13-10.

Heidari also kicked a 21-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

Heidari finished the regular season 10 of 15 on field-goal attempts.

Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza tied a school record with five field goals, including a career-long 52-yarder at the end of the first half.

He also saved a possible touchdown by knocking Marqise Lee out of bounds on the kickoff following his fifth field goal.

Local product

Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood, who played at Oxnard Santa Clara High, contributed to the Fighting Irish's victory.

Wood rushed for 20 yards in eight carries and also caught two passes for 18 yards.

No. 1 priority

The Trojans are now 7-12 against top-ranked teams in the Associated Press media poll.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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