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USC's Marqise Lee happy to end touchdown drought

Trojans wide receiver Marqise Lee hadn't scored in four games but finally broke through with an 80-yard catch-and-run against Boston College.

September 17, 2013|By Gary Klein

It had been awhile since Marqise Lee scored a touchdown.

USC's All-American receiver had not found the end zone since last November, during the Trojans' loss to UCLA at the Rose Bowl.

He was shut out in the final two games of the 2012 season, and also against Hawaii and Washington State this season before turning a mid-range pass into a dynamic 80-yard scoring play against Boston College.

Lee said Tuesday that it "felt good" to score, but his focus was on "making a play," not necessarily scoring touchdowns.

"Luckily," he said, "I got a great pass, turned it into something and got a nice block to score."

Coach Lane Kiffin was so ecstatic, he trailed Lee down the sideline on his way to the end zone.

"I just felt great for him," Kiffin said.

Said Lee: "I told him, 'Ah, you almost caught me.'"

Kiffin and the Trojans are hoping to create more play-making opportunities for Lee, who has 17 receptions going into Saturday's game against Utah State at the Coliseum.

Meantime, Lee said he seeks regular counsel from former Trojans receiver Robert Woods, who left USC with a year of eligibility remaining and is starting for the Buffalo Bills.

"I watch all Robert's highlights," Lee said. "Robert's doing the same thing he did here. He's a great technician and his speed looks crazy now."

Lee added that "I still go to Rob for advice. All of us still go to Rob for things we can improve on."

Relaxed fit

Quarterback Cody Kessler reviewed film of the Trojans' 35-7 victory over Boston College — his first game as the designated starter — and came away with one overriding thought.

"Don't be so excited on the first play of the game and overthrow Marqise for the touchdown," Kessler said. "That killed me."

Kessler rebounded to complete 15 of his next 16 passes, including the touchdown to Lee and another to tailback Tre Madden.

Not that Kessler saw Madden reach the end zone. He was hit by two Boston College players just as he released the ball.

"I just listened — that's why I laid down for a minute," Kessler said. "I just threw it and I got hit and listened to hear if [USC fans] were yelling."

Kessler said he was not pining for a more balanced approach against Utah State. The Trojans rushed the ball 43 times against Boston College and passed only 19.

"What we did was perfect if we can be that productive," he said.

Quick hits

For the second consecutive day, cornerback Josh Shaw emerged from practice wearing a non-contact yellow jersey. ... USC is 4-0 against Utah State. The Trojans won the most recent meeting with the Aggies, 66-10, in 1989.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesklein

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