User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
USC routs No. 21 Fresno St 45-20 in Las Vegas Bowl

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Cody Kessler realizes Southern California could have quit on this season after the Trojans' first head coach was fired.

Advertisement
Or after their second head coach resigned.

Or before their fourth head coach in less than three months took over.

The quarterback and his Trojans simply stuck together, no matter who happened to be in charge. That tenacity got them a blowout win over a BCS contender in the Las Vegas Bowl - and the confidence that USC is back on the rise after a roller coaster of a season.

Kessler passed for a career-high 344 yards and a bowl-record four touchdowns in the Trojans' 45-20 victory over No. 21 Fresno State on Saturday night under interim coach Clay Helton.

''This is a team that hopefully will be remembered forever in USC history,'' said Kessler, the game's MVP. ''These guys, it doesn't take a lot to get us motivated. When you're playing just for someone else next to you, you don't want to let him down.''

Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor had two touchdown catches apiece, Javorius Allen rushed two more scores, and the Trojans (10-4) answered every question about their motivation by repeatedly dancing on the sideline during the storied program's first postseason victory since 2009.

''I can't say how proud I am of this team,'' Helton said. ''We had to see: Were we going to use it as an excuse to be on our third-string head coach, or were we just going to say, `We're not going to fail today.'''

From Kessler's smooth offense to a dynamic defensive effort against Fresno State's FBS-best passing game, USC was uniformly outstanding in its only game under Helton.

The offensive coordinator filled the one-game gap between coaches Ed Orgeron and Steve Sarkisian on the Trojans' coaching carousel, but USC picked up right where Orgeron left off after its desultory start to the season under Lane Kiffin. The Trojans ended up celebrating under confetti in the north end zone, joining friends and family on a chilly desert night

''After all of the adversity that's hit us, this win means everything for us,'' safety Dion Bailey said. ''We've had four head coaches and were able to get 10 wins. I'll never forget this team.''

Derek Carr passed for just 217 yards and two TDs in his final game at Fresno State (11-2), which fell behind 35-6 at halftime and failed to secure the first 12-win season in school history.

''They had a heck of a run until this point,'' Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said of his Bulldogs. ''Physically, they were the most impressive team we've played the last two years. They play inspired.''

Kessler outdid Carr, his fellow Bakersfield native and friend, setting the Las Vegas Bowl record for TD passes before halftime and finishing 22 for 30. USC scored three touchdowns in a nine-minute burst in the second quarter, and Allen clinched it with his second TD run with 4:44 to play.

''Blame me. Blame me always,'' Carr said. ''I've got to do a better job of leading, and I've got to do a better job of getting our guys in better spots. That's my fault.''

Carr went 30 for 54 under constant pressure from the blitzing Trojans, who eliminated Fresno State's running game and twice stopped the Bulldogs on fourth downs in the first half.

Fresno State's two TD catches by Isaiah Burse and Davante Adams both came on short drives resulting from USC mistakes on special teams, and Derron Smith returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown.

The Mountain West champions still haven't won a bowl game since 2007, losing six of their last seven.

Lee had seven catches for 118 yards in likely his final game at USC, putting a pleasant finish on a crazy season in Los Angeles.

Kiffin was fired in late September, and Orgeron revived the program with a 6-2 finish to the regular season before resigning in anger when USC hired Sarkisian for the full-time job. Sarkisian watched the bowl game with athletic director Pat Haden in a box above the sellout crowd at Sam Boyd Stadium.

After the teams traded touchdowns on their opening drives, the Trojans blocked Fresno State's extra point attempt - and it started a deluge.

Agholor caught TD passes of 40 and 17 yards for the Trojans' next two scores. Allen made a 24-yard TD run through bad tackling midway through the second quarter, and Lee turned a short pass into a 40-yard TD with 37 seconds left in the half.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Edwards: Pac-12 Predictions
Sportsbook: Ranked games heat up Week 1
Rogers: Week 1 Records - Power 5
Edwards: Big Ten East Predictions
ASA: Big 12 Best Bets
BetOnline.com: SEC vs. the Field
ASA: Big Ten East - Best Bets
Lawrence: 2016 Sun Belt Preview
Cal beats Hawaii 51-31 Down Under
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
2015 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 2379
Scott Pritchard + 1370
Marc Lawrence + 1207
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Pritchard 64 %
Paul Bovi 58 %
Marc Lawrence 58 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Greg Smith + 1775
Kevin Rogers + 1190
Brian Edwards + 856
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1596
James Manos + 1448
Kyle Hunter + 1332
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 2072
Bruce Marshall + 1842
Paul Bovi + 1307
NCAA FB College Football Expert Picks
2016 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Pritchard + 100
Kevin Rogers + 100
Pat Hawkins + 100
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last Week  
   
   
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Brian Edwards 100 %
Pat Hawkins 100 %
Kevin Rogers 100 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Pritchard + 100
Kevin Rogers + 100
Pat Hawkins + 100
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Brian Edwards + 100
   
   
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
   
   
   
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership