(LAS VEGAS) — Playing for their third coach this season, USC easily could have come out flat in the Las Vegas Bowl, instead, the Trojans flattened Fresno State.
Cody Kessler threw for 344 yards and a Las Vegas Bowl record four touchdowns to lead No. 25 USC past No. 20 Fresno State, 45-20 Saturday.
Clay Helton took over as USC’s interim head coach earlier in the month, after the former interim head coach Ed Orgeron resigned when USC hired Steve Sarkisian to coach the Trojans nest season.
“We said this wasn’t going to be a wasted year. That this was going to be a memory maker,” Helton said when explaining what motivated his team for the game. “We’ve made some great memories here. (As for) USC, we wanted to pass the torch to coach Sarkisian, we know he’s going to do great things with it. We’ve just built USC back up.”
The Trojan’s also stopped Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr. USC held Carr to 217 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in his final game for Fresno State (11-2).
Receiver Marqise Lee had seven catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns in what could be his final game as a Trojan. The junior is debating whether to go pro.
“I said Marqise man whatever you decide — obviously I’m biased of you coming back — but whatever you decide man, I’m proud of you, I’m happy for you, I’m going to be there for you no matter what and I love you bro,” Kessler said when relaying a conversation he had with Lee.
USC (10-4) wins its first bowl game since 2009.
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Jill Martin, CNN