Marqise Lee Showed Star Power In USC Vs. Hawaii Romp
For the most part, the team picked up where it left off, dominating both sides of the ball in a performance that was expected from the team’s No. 1 pre-season rank.
Matt Barkley was pretty good yet uncharacteristically inaccurate on some throws. He still ended up with 370 yards, four touchdowns and no picks.
Robert Woods played well but not spectacularly (six catches, 42 yards, two touchdowns).
Both can improve upon last night’s showing, that’s for sure.
The defensive line, the supposed weakest facet of the team, played viciously, controlling Hawaii’s offensive line all game.
Then there’s Marqise Lee. He definitely falls into the “picked up where he left off” category.
In his third audition for a prominent national audience, Lee exceeded expectations. He played excellently against the Warriors, recording ten grabs, 197 yards and a score -- a 75-yard catch and run on the first play from scrimmage, much less.
As if that weren’t enough for the sophomore star, he returned a kickoff 100 yards to notch his second touchdown of the game.
His speed-and-size combination makes him a unique weapon. With his excellent field vision, as evidence in his play last night, Lee is a monster for opposing defenses to handle.
For one, it was just Hawaii. He did have some drops, which head coach Lane Kiffin immediately highlighted after the game. But Lee showed he has the ability and smarts to rise college football’s list of top wideouts, maybe even becoming a marquee name in the NFL in a few years. Domination is domination no matter the opponent.
But don’t take my word for it. How about Kiffin’s?
“I think he’ll be the best one ever when it’s all said and done.”
If that statement seems jarring, then you must not have followed Kiffin’s praise for the Serra product. He has said similar sentiments going on a solid 11 months now. He loves Lee and his game.
Want to hear something truly jarring? In his last six games dating back to last season, Lee has recorded 56 catches, 815 yards and ten total touchdowns, resulting in averages of 9.3 catches and 135.8 yards per game. Should that pace continue through 2012’s 12 games, his season would resemble 110+ catches, 1600+ yards and 20 touchdowns. Translation: insanely good.
There’s also this stat that ESPN Stats and Info dropped:
#USC WR Marqise Lee is 2nd FBS player since 2000 with 10 catches, 150 receiving yards, a receiving TD & a kickoff return TD in a game.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 2, 2012
Lee’s production will drop due to the run game improving. Robert Woods will likely receive more looks, although Lee caught four more balls on as many more targets (Lee 16, Woods 12).
With just one year his belt, Lee has work to do to fulfill Kiffin’s prophecy.
He will have to pass Trojan greats -- in terms of records and lore -- such as Keyshawn Johnson, Lynn Swann, Dwayne Jarrett, Keary Colbert and current teammate Woods to claim the title of best ever USC wideout.
But with games like his against Oregon, UCLA and Hawaii, it’s hard to not become excited about Lee’s next two years with the program.
Buckle up, folks. This year’s gonna be one helluva ride for Lee and the Trojans.