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College Football
Preview
Fresno State vs Southern California
When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 21, 2013
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada

ROYAL PURPLE LAS VEGAS BOWL STORYLINES

1. Fresno State had its BCS hopes dashed with a loss in its final regular-season game, but motivation shouldn’t be an issue when the Bulldogs face USC in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 21. "Any time Fresno State gets a chance to play against BCS teams like USC we get up for it and our fan base gets up for it," coach Tim DeRuyter said. The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Derek Carr, who has passed for a nation-leading 4,866 yards with 48 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

2. USC looks to finish on a high note while playing for its third coach this season. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton will lead the Trojans in Las Vegas before new coach Steve Sarkisian takes over next season.

3. Fresno State defeated the Trojans 24-7 in the 1992 Freedom Bowl in Anaheim, Calif., and USC escaped with a thrilling 50-42 victory on Nov. 19, 2005 in Los Angeles. The teams are scheduled to open the 2014 season against each other in Los Angeles on Aug. 30.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC. LINE: USC -5.5

ABOUT FRESNO STATE (11-1, 7-1 Mountain West): The Bulldogs boast the top-ranked passing and fifth-ranked scoring offense in the country, but allowed 736 total yards in a 62-52 loss at San Jose State and have struggled mightily against the pass. USC receivers Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor should thrive against the Bulldogs’ much-maligned secondary, which could receive a boost if cornerback L.J. Jones returns after missing the last five games with a knee injury. Carr’s favorite target is star wideout Davante Adams, who has 122 catches for 1,645 yards and 23 touchdowns.

ABOUT USC (9-4, 6-3 Pac-12):
The Trojans went 6-2 with impressive wins against Arizona and Stanford under interim coach Ed Orgeron, who was replaced after a 35-14 loss to rival UCLA in the regular-season finale. The Pac-12’s second-ranked scoring defense figures to be tested by the explosive Bulldogs, and cornerback Josh Shaw’s matchup against the dynamic Adams should be worth the price of admission. The Trojans can’t match the Bulldogs’ offensive firepower, but quarterback Cody Kessler has improved after a shaky start.

PREDICTION: Fresno State 31, USC 28
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Fresno State 11-1 W1 45.3 29.1 7-0 4-1 1-0 1-0 8-1
Southern California 9-4 L1 28.5 21.3 5-2 4-2 6-4 0-0 6-3
Last Meeting
Fresno State Southern California
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/19/05 FRES 42 USC 50 427 110 317 508 308 200
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Fresno State P. Pinegar 60.0 317 4 4
Southern California M. Leinart 66.7 200 1 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Fresno State W. Mathis 23 109 4.7 1
Southern California R. Bush 23 294 12.8 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Fresno State J. Fernandez 7 75 10.7 2
Southern California R. Bush 3 68 22.7 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Fresno State J. Fernandez 2
Southern California R. Bush 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Fresno State D. Carr 70.1 4866 48 7
Southern California C. Kessler 64.5 2623 16 6
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Fresno State J. Quezada 153 787 5.1 6
Southern California T. Madden 138 703 5.1 3
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Fresno State D. Adams 122 1645 13.5 23
Southern California N. Agholor 51 824 16.2 4
Touchdowns Player TD
Fresno State D. Adams 23
Southern California J. Allen 13
Quickchart Matchup
Fresno State Off vs  Southern California Def
570.6 yards
341.2 yards
4.7 yards/rush
3.9 yards/rush
7.9 yards/attempt
6 yards/attempt
Southern California Off vs  Fresno State Def
392.3 yards
425.8 yards
4.6 yards/rush
3.7 yards/rush
7.9 yards/attempt
7.7 yards/attempt