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USC FOOTBALL FYI

Energized USC hopes to continue hot streak in cold trip to Colorado

No. 23 Trojans appear to bask in afterglow at light practice after upset victory against Stanford. They will try to extend winning streak to five games and keep momentum going into finale against UCLA.

November 18, 2013|By Gary Klein
  • While fans swarm the field to celebrate with players after USC's 20-17 victory over Stanford on Saturday night at the Coliseum, hobbled star receiver Marqise Lee get assistance to leave the field.
While fans swarm the field to celebrate with players after USC's 20-17… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

The air was a bit chilly when USC went through its usual light Monday practice.

But the energized Trojans did not seem to mind, appearing and sounding as if they were still enjoying the warm afterglow of their upset victory over Stanford.

Coming up next: a cold trip to Colorado, where No. 23 USC on Saturday will try to extend its winning streak to five games and keep the momentum going into the season finale against rival UCLA.

The forecast for Boulder calls for possible snow Thursday, but partly cloudy skies and a low of about 26 degrees on Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service.

USC is a 22-point favorite over the Buffaloes, who improved to 4-6 overall and 1-6 in the Pac-12 Conference with a victory last Saturday over California.

Coaches and players are not made available to the media on Monday of regular game weeks.

USC receiver Marqise Lee was not on the field for drills during practice. He said after the Stanford victory that he was kicked in the shin.

"It's going to be hurting for a while," he said.

Lee was nursing a left knee injury when the Trojans played at California on Nov. 9, and coaches limited his plays with hopes that he would be at full strength against Stanford. With UCLA looming on Nov. 30, a similar strategy regarding Lee could be used against Colorado.

Defensive tackle Leonard Williams rested his injured right shoulder, participating in only a few drills. Offensive tackle Chad Wheeler sat out most drills.

Building block

Fullback Soma Vainuku said he felt redeemed.

Several times last season, including against Stanford, he was called on as a receiver in crucial situations and was unable to make a catch.

The third-year sophomore came through with his first career touchdown Saturday.

"It's a special one," he said, adding that during practices leading up to the game, Coach Ed Orgeron told him, 'We're going to score on it.'… I had to make up for my mistakes last year."

Vainuku scored after catching a one-yard pass from Cody Kessler.

"I knew I was inside the goal line," he said. "All I knew was 'just fall backward.' "

Quick hits

Kessler and kicker Andre Heidari were selected Pac-12 offensive and special-teams players of the week, respectively. Kessler completed 25 of 37 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown in the Trojans' 20-17 victory over Stanford. Heidari kicked a 23-yard field goal in the second quarter and a 47-yard game-winner with 19 seconds left. A USC special-teams player was selected for the second week in a row. Nelson Agholor had been selected after returning two punts for touchdowns against California….The kickoff time for USC's Nov. 30 game against UCLA will be determined by Sunday. The game will kick off at either 12:30 p.m. and be broadcast on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 or at 5 p.m. on ABC.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: latimesklein

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