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USC upsets Stanford on last-minute field goal

Andre Heideri kicks a 47-yard field goal with 19 seconds left for a 20-17 victory over the Cardinal. Su'a Cravens helps set up the game-winning kick with an interception.

November 16, 2013|By Mike Hiserman and Gary Klein
  • USC wide receiver Marqise Lee, left, hauls in a two-point conversion pass over Stanford's Jordan Richards during the first quarter of Saturday's game at the Coliseum.
USC wide receiver Marqise Lee, left, hauls in a two-point conversion pass… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

Big call by interim Coach Ed Orgeron. Big catch by hobbled Marqise Lee. Huge field goal by much-maligned USC kicker Andre Heidari.

All of that in the final seconds, before a sellout crowd of 93,607 at the Coliseum, equaled a 20-17 victory for USC over No. 4 Stanford on Saturday night.

The result broke a four-game Stanford winning streak against USC -- and made it just that much tougher for USC to to hire anyone other than Orgeron to be its next head coach.

Heidari, who missed an extra point in the first quarter in a continuation of a season-long struggle, drove a 47-yard field goal right through the center of the goal posts with 19 seconds left in the game.

The game-winning kick was set up by a leaping interception by freshman Su'a Cravens, which killed a Stanford drive deep in USC territory and gave USC the ball at its own 44-yard line with 3:02 to play.

USC quickly found itself in a fourth-and-two situation near midfield, and Orgeron decided to go for it. The Trojans converted on a 13-yard pass from Cody Kessler to Lee, who had limped to the sidelines only a couple of plays earlier.

A three-yard run by Javorius Allen and an 11-yard pass from Kessler to Nelson Agholor moved the ball to the Stanford 21. From there, the Trojans were content to run into the middle of the line and take time off the clock, setting up Heidari.

Orgeron was asked after the game about his decision to go for it on fourth down near midfield. "I felt that that was the time to do it," he said. "We did it and it was a great call and it worked.

"If we wouldn't have made it, [Stanford] could have gone down there and kicked a field goal and won the game. I totally understood that."

Heidari's kick kept USC in the hunt for a berth in the Pac-12 Conference title game. The Trojans are 8-3 overall, 5-2 in Pac-12 play. The Trojans trailed Arizona State by one game in the Pac-12 South entering play Saturday.

Stanford dropped to 8-2 overall, 6-2 in conference play, falling a game back of Oregon in the Pac-12 North.

Heidari downplayed his heroics after the game.

“It’s a regular kick. It’s the same kick every time," he said of the game-winner. "Three steps back, two steps over, line it up, hit a target pretty much. I did what I needed to do. I’m just thankful for my team that it put me in that position.”

Kessler had a big game for USC, and he needed to because the Trojans netted only 23 yards rushing.

He completed 25 of 37 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown without an interception. He used eight different receivers. Nelson Agholor was the leader with eight catches for 104 yards. Lee had six catches for 83 yards.

Kevin Hogan completed 14 of 25 passes for 127 for Stanford, whcih got 158 yards and two touchdowns rushing by Tyler Gaffney.

However, the Cardinal made three turnovers and had a field-goal try blocked.

Here's a recap of the game:

With the score still 17-17, there's another unusual call by those daffy Pac-12 officials.

Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan, under a heavy rush, heaves a ball in the direction of Ty Montgomery, who is literally shoved out of bounds by USC's Josh Shaw.

The pass, a wobbler, is intercepted by USC's Su'a Cravens. But there is a flag.

The call: Illegal touching on Montgomery -- the guy who got pretty much thrown out of bounds.

USC has the ball at its own 44 with 3:02 in regulation.


Stanford has a 211-29 edge in rushing yardage, but its advantage overall is just 335-284.

Still 17-17.


More tough Stanford defense after a nice USC gain on a pass from Cody Kessler to tight end Xavier Grimble.

USC punts and Stanford takes over at its own 32 with 3:47 left in regulation.


USC's defense holds again as Tyler Gaffney is stuffed for a short gain on a third-and-five run.

After that last Kevin Hogan pass, Coach David Shaw decided against passing deep in Stanford territory.

USC's ball at Trojans' 26 with 5:53 left in regulation.


USC moves the ball to the Stanford 39 before the drive stalls.

Sellout crowd at Coliseum is watching a good one.

Stanford ball at Cardinal 20 with a little more than seven minutes to play in regulation.


Stanford had moved to the USC 10 and Kevin Hogan was looking good.

Until he threw a pass right to USC safety Dion Bailey at the seven-yard line.

Bailey returned the ball to USC's 34.

A huge turn of events for the Trojans.


Pac-12 officials strike again.

USC's Kris Albarado is dumped after getting off a punt and there is no flag.

Stanford takes over at its own 15.


The third quarter has ended at the Coliseum, right after Tre Madden doubled USC's rushing total with an eight-yard run.

That's right. USC has a net of 16 yards rushing.

USC's Cody Kessler has completed 18 of 27 passes for 234 yards.


USC safety Dion Bailey got beat by Ty Montgomery on a long third-down play, but Kevin Hogan's pass was too long.

After a punt, USC has the ball at its own 35 with 2:19 left in the third quarter.


USC's defense comes up with a big play to negate the turnover.

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