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Fresno St. vs. USC Pick – CFB Las Vegas Bowl

The 2013 Las Vegas Bowl features a pair of ranked teams from the West Coast in what should be an unpredictable and entertaining match-up. The 20th ranked Fresno St. Bulldogs (11-1) out of the Mountain West Conference take on the 25th ranked USC Trojans out of the PAC-12 in Las Vegas, NV. Fresno St. won their last regular season game 24-17 over Utah St. to shake off the disappointment of ending their BCS bowl aspirations with a 62-52 week 14 loss at San Jose St. USC dropped their regular season finale to crosstown rival UCLA 35-14 to end a 5 game winning streak under interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron that saw them upset then 4th ranked Stanford 20-17 in week 12. Orgeron resigned after Steve Sarkisian was hired as the permanent head man, and now Clay Helton will coach the Trojans in the bowl game as their 3rd coach of the year.

Fresno St. ranks 3rd among FBS teams in total offense with 570.6 yards per game and 5th in scoring offense with an average 45.3 points per game. Quarterback Derek Carr is one of the top signal callers in the nation with 4,866 yards passing and 48 TDs and only 7 INTs. Backs Josh Quezada (787 yards rushing) and Marteze Waller (629 yards) provide a change of pace for a pass heavy attack, and wide receivers Davante Adams (122 receptions, 1,645 yards, 23 TDs) and Josh Harper (79 receptions, 1,011 yards, 13 TDs) have posted eye-popping numbers for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs rank 91st nationally in total defense with 425.1 YPG and 80th in scoring defense with 29.1 points per game allowed.

USC ranks 79th among FBS teams in total offense with 392.3 yards per game and 68th in scoring offense with an average of 28.5 points per game. QB Cody Kessler has thrown for 2,623 yards with 16 TDs and 6 INTs for the Trojans. Running back Tre Madden is the leading rusher with 703 yards and 3 TDs, and Jarvorius Allen has a nose for the end zone with 12 TDs to go with 699 yards on the ground. Receiver Marquise Lee has had an up-and-down season with 50 receptions for 673 yards and 2 TDs, but is still one of the most dangerous players in the country. USC ranks 16th nationally in total defense with 341.5 YPG allowed and 21st in scoring defense with 21.3 points per game allowed.

Fresno St. vs. USC Spread, Line and Betting Odds:

Spread:
Fresno St. Bulldogs +7
@ USC Trojans -7

Game Total:
Over 62 (-110)
Under 62 (-110)

Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv

Fresno St. vs USC Pick

Fresno St. is 5-7 ATS this year while USC is 6-7 ATS this season. The UNDER has come in 5 of the last 7 games for Fresno State, and the UNDER has also come in for 5 of USC’s last 7 games. Fresno State 1-5 ATS in their last 6 bowl games, USC is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 bowl games.

USC has a highly rated defense, but the Trojans have come up small in games against high-powered offenses such as Arizona St. (600 yards allowed and 62 points) and UCLA. Fresno St. has one of the most explosive offenses in the nation behind Carr, and the Bulldogs have defeated 4 bowl bound teams this season therefore their schedule is not as weak as some naysayers proclaim. USC is vulnerable to a prolific passing game, and Fresno St. has the #1 pass offense in the country at 409.8 YPG. The Trojans are also being led by their 3rd coach of the season, and may be mailing it in after the popular Orgeron resigned taking with him the spark that propelled their mid-season win streak. Fresno St. has something to prove after their disappointing loss to San Jose St. and they will look to do so against a respected power conference opponent, take the underdog Bulldogs here.

PICK= Fresno State +7