"If USC's defensive line controls the game they will walk away with a victory."
Needless to say that is exactly what happened today in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. Early on it was obvious that the Trojans would force Fresno State to find other avenues to move the ball. The Trojans were not going to allow the Bulldogs to beat them with their vaunted passing attack. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs they had little answer for USC's defensive line and the pressure they applied to Carr throughout the course of the game. Not only did the offense struggle to move the ball throughout the first half, but the defense also had problems slowing down the Trojans passing attack.
USC opened the scoring with a 12 play drive covering 65 yards in nearly six minutes to take a 7-0 lead. USC QB Cody Kessler was given ample time to throw the ball which was shown on his 10 yard touchdown pass to Marqise Lee. After a penalty wiped out a successful onside kick for the Trojans, the Bulldogs responded with a three play drive culminating in an eight yard touchdown pass from Carr to Isaiah Burse. Colin Mcguire's extra point was blocked leaving the Bulldogs trailing the Trojans 7-6. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs this was the closest they would get to the Trojans for the remainder of the game.
The Trojans put together scoring drives of 65 yards, 65, yards, 30 yards, and 88 yards to end the first half with a 35-6 lead. The Bulldogs defense played much better in the second half but it was too little too late as the Trojans were able to finish off the game with an eighty yard drive that chewed up over six and a half minutes of the clock. Derek Carr finished with a season low 217 passing yards on 30 of 54 pass attempts. Carr was able to find the end zone twice through the air to finish his senior campaign with 50 tds, something few QB's have done in their collegiate career. With 217 yards passing Carr also topped the 5000 yard passing mark as well. However, Carr looked flustered from the start against USC's pass rush as he could not find a rhythm overthrowing receivers often throughout the course of the game. Cody Kessler finished the game with a career high 344 yards passing on 22 of 30 attempts and four touchdowns.
Fresno State finished the season 11-2, failing to win a bowl game for the fifth consecutive time. USC finished the season 10-4. The two teams will open up the 2014 season against one another down in Southern California.