What to watch: Week 13 at USC

November, 21, 2012
11/21/12
10:15
AM ET
Plenty to keep an eye on Saturday night. Here are a few things that stand out:

(1) Manti Te'o: Rarely does a Heisman Trophy contender become the sidebar in his team's regular-season finale, but when his team is playing for a spot in the national title game, that's the case. And a welcome one. A lot will depend on how others perform this week, but if Te'o forces a big turnover, in prime time, to deliver the Irish to Miami? Well, it's not a stretch to say we could be looking at the first defense-only Heisman.

(2) Marqise Lee: Speaking of Heisman, don't overlook USC's talented wideout. He's probably the best skill-position player in the country, one who is stuck on a four-loss team. Still, he has given opposing coaches nightmares with the ball in his hands, be it after a catch or on special teams, and how the Irish defend him can go a long way toward determining what kind of night this will be.

(3) Quarterback play: We'll save the obvious for last here. Rarely will Everett Golson be looked at as a veteran, but that's the case here, as he faces another redshirt freshman, this one making his first career start. Golson has been better on the road all season, although the circumstances are amped up just a bit here. Max Wittek? We'll see, although he certainly hasn't lacked for bravado so far this week.

Matt Fortuna | email

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