USC Football To Play In Las Vegas Bowl Against Fresno State
Dec. 8, 2013
The USC football team has accepted an invitation to play in the 22nd Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl against No. 21-ranked Fresno State on Dec. 21. The game will kick off at 12:30 p.m. PT in Sam Boyd Stadium and will be shown live nationally on ABC-TV.
The Trojans, who will be guided in the bowl by interim head coach Clay Helton, are 9-4 overall and tied for second place in the Pac-12 South Division. Head coach Tim DeRuyter’s Bulldogs are 11-1 overall and won the inaugural Mountain West championship game.
"We are extremely excited to have been invited to participate in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl,” said Helton. “It is a tremendous honor and a great reward to our team and what they have been able to accomplish in the 2013 season. We look forward to our trip to Las Vegas and the challenge of competing against one of the better teams in the country in Fresno State."
This will be USC’s second time in the Las Vegas Bowl. Troy fell to Utah, 10-6, in the 2001 game.
The Trojans are among the nation’s premier bowl teams, with an overall post-season record of 31-16 (not including 1 win and 1 loss vacated due to NCAA penalty). USC has lost just twice in its past 9 bowl games. Troy has appeared in 13 different bowls, including 33 times in the Rose Bowl.
USC has one of the nation’s top defenses in 2013, as it is ranked in the Top 25 in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks, interceptions, red zone defense, third down conversion defense and fourth down conversion defense. Key Trojan defenders are defensive end Leonard Williams (a Bednarik Award semifinalist), outside linebacker (a Lott Trophy finalist), safety Dion Bailey (11 career interceptions), 2013 team tackle leader Hayes Pullard at linebacker and lockdown cornerback Josh Shaw. USC’s balanced offense is led by steady quarterback Cody Kessler, tailback Javorius Allen (12 rushing TDs and a quartet of 100-yard games in 2013) and dangerous wide receivers Marqise Lee (the 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner) and Nelson Agholor.
Fresno State, which also lost to Utah in its only Las Vegas Bowl appearance (17-16 in 1999), sports a 12-12 overall post-season mark. The Bulldogs have appeared in 20 different bowls.
Fresno State, which won its first 10 games of 2013 before falling in the regular season finale at San Jose State, features one of game’s top offenses. The Bulldogs rank first in the nation in passing offense (409.8), are third in total offense (570.6) and are fifth in scoring offense (45.3) thanks to the performance of quarterback Derek Carr, the nation’s passing (405.5) and total offense (415.3) leader, and wide receiver Davante Adams, who is tops nationally in receptions (10.2) and receiving touchdowns (23) and second in receiving yards (137.1). Linebacker Karl Mickelson’s 88 tackles lead the defense, while safety Derron Smith has 6 picks this year.
This will be only the third meeting between USC and Fresno State. The Bulldogs downed USC, 24-7, in the 1992 Freedom Bowl, then the Trojans beat the Bulldogs, 50-42, at home in 2005 (the victory was later vacated due to NCAA penalty).
USC fans can go to USCTrojans.com/BowlCentral for ticket information for the Las Vegas Bowl. Current USC football season ticketholders will receive an email regarding Las Vegas Bowl tickets on Monday.
Season tickets for USC’s 2014 football season, which includes home games against Notre Dame, Fresno State, Arizona State, Oregon State, California and Colorado, are available for current and new season ticket holders online by visiting HERE or by calling 1-855-WePlay4.