Andre Heidari had been waiting for the moment his whole career.
USC's junior kicker nearly lost his job a few weeks ago and was struggling going into Saturday night's game against fifth-ranked Stanford.
Still, he remained confident.
“You want to prove that you can make a game-winning field goal when it's on the line,” he said this week. “That's what I play for.”
Heidari got his chance late in the game and he came through with a 47-yard field goal with 19 seconds to play, giving USC a 20-17 upset victory before a delirious sellout crowd at the Coliseum.
Fans stormed the field after a victory that improved USC's record to 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the Pac-12 Conference. It also extended the Trojans' winning streak to four games and improved interim Coach Ed Orgeron's record to 5-1 since taking over for the fired Lane Kiffin.
USC ended its four-game losing streak against Stanford with its first victory over the Cardinal at the Coliseum since 2005.
Stanford fell to 8-2 and 6-2 in the Pac-12.
Freshman safety Su'a Cravens set up the game-winning field goal by intercepting a tipped pass with just over three minutes remaining.
Orgeron, who had elected to punt on a fourth and one two series earlier, this time opted to go for it on fourth and two at the Stanford 48 with 1:23 remaining.
“I looked into these guys' eyes and knew they wanted to go for it and win the game,” Orgeron said.
Quarterback Cody Kessler completed a nine-yard pass to receiver Marqise Lee for the first down and Kessler completed another pass to Nelson Agholor that moved the ball to the 21.
After losing ground on three plays, on came Heidari.
The Bakersfield product had kicked 50- and 22-yard field goals two years ago in the Trojans' 56-48 triple-overtime loss to the Cardinal at the Coliseum.
But last week, he missed a field-goal attempt and an extra-point against California. Last month, he missed two field-goal tries in a 14-10 loss at Notre Dame. And he missed an extra-point try Saturday after USC's first touchdown.
But none of that mattered when his kick with 19 seconds left split the uprights at the peristyle end of the stadium.
Heidari, who also kicked a 23-yard field goal in the second quarter, sprinted joyously down the field as teammates chased him to the opposite end zone.
“It's a dream for me,” he said. “A dream come true.”