USC stays motivated for a decisive Las Vegas Bowl victory

The much-anticipated USC letdown against Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl was not to be.

The Trojans jumped on Fresno State early, coasted to a 45-20 victory and capped an improbable 10-win season.

Many thought USC might come into the Las Vegas Bowl uninspired after coach Ed Orgeron quit and the team was playing for its third coach this season. But quarterback Cody Kessler said the team rallied around the seniors and wanted to send them off on a high note. Kessler had a career day throwing for 344 yards and three touchdowns.

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USC started the season 3-2, but fired coach Lane Kiffin and rallied to win seven of its next nine games. Prior to the bowl season, athletic director Pat Haden named Washington coach Steve Sarkisian the Trojans’ head coach, which prompted interim coach Orgeron to step down. Clay Helton coached the Trojans on Saturday and he will stay on with Sarkisian as the offensive coordinator.

The loss was wildly disappointing for a Fresno State team that for much of the season had visions of playing in a BCS bowl. However a late-season loss to San Jose State derailed those plans. The Bulldogs rallied to win the Mountain West title game against Utah State, but seemingly had little chance against a highly motivated USC team.

Now, USC fans will wait to hear from receiver Marqise Lee, who is still debating whether to enter the NFL draft. Lee had seven catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

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Graham Watson

is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter!