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USC's Nelson Agholor could start receiving more attention

USC FOOTBALL

Sophomore has emerged as a big weapon for the Trojans and is tied with Marqise Lee for the team lead with 44 catches. His 11-yard reception helped set the stage for Andre Heidari's winning field goal against Stanford.

November 19, 2013|By Gary Klein

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Most of the attention from media and defensive coordinators has been focused on Marqise Lee.

Meanwhile, USC receiver Nelson Agholor has emerged as a weapon on a par with the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner.

The sophomore from Florida has 44 receptions, tying him with Lee for the team lead, and is averaging a team-best 17.1 yards per catch.

In USC's 20-17 upset of Stanford last week, Agholor caught eight passes for 104 yards. An 11-yard reception late in the fourth quarter helped set the stage for Andre Heidari's game-winning field goal with 19 seconds left.

"I actually left some balls out there Saturday that I wish I would have caught," Agholor said after practice Tuesday. "So I came out here [Tuesday] and tried to limit all drops. I think everything that touched my hands I caught.

"And I'm going to continue to do that tomorrow and the day after that and just continue to get better."

Darreus Rogers also had a key catch against Stanford.

The freshman hauled in a 14-yard pass from Cody Kessler on the Trojans' second scoring drive.

Rogers has 16 receptions and is hoping for more.

"I've got a lot of great receivers around me," he said, "Bigger and better options. But every time the ball comes my way, I'm going to make the most of my opportunity."

Lee caught six passes against Stanford, including a fourth-down reception that kept alive the game-winning drive. The junior did not participate in drills Tuesday for the second consecutive day because of a shin injury suffered against Stanford.

Interim Coach Ed Orgeron said Lee was probable for Saturday's Pac-12 Conference game at Colorado.

Up next

Orgeron and players said they have put their emotional victory behind and that they are concentrating on Colorado (4-6), which won its first conference game last week against California.

"I think they realize there's a lot at stake in that we've built something special and they want to protect it," Orgeron said of his players.

Said Kessler, who was selected Pac-12 offensive player of the week for his performance against Stanford: "That win was great, don't get me wrong, it was awesome beating a top-five team that's as good as Stanford, but that game's over with, that's done for. And now we're on to the next week and we have to put all our focus on Colorado."

Quick hits

Linebacker Morgan Breslin underwent surgery for what Orgeron described as a "sports hernia." Walk-on tailback Taylor Ross underwent reconstructive knee surgery. ... Tailback Silas Redd (knee), who was absent from practice, is questionable for the Colorado game, Orgeron said. Defensive lineman Leonard Williams (shoulder) is probable. ... Orgeron was surrounded by a sea of fans after the Stanford victory and was unable to shake hands with Cardinal Coach David Shaw. But Shaw waited for Orgeron outside the Trojans locker room. "I was really impressed," Orgeron said. "It was the first time I ever talked to him. He was first class, he was really complimentary of what we're doing and I was really complimentary of him. ... He must have waited 10 to 15 minutes. He didn't have to do that and I thought it was a very good gesture."

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesklein

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