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Fresno State Bulldogs vs. Southern Cal Trojans Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/21/13 Las Vegas Bowl

Southern Cal Trojans (9-4) at Fresno State Bulldogs (11-1)

College Football: Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm (Sam Boyd Stadium)

The Line: Fresno State Bulldogs +6 -- Over/Under: 62 See the Latest Odds


The Fresno State Bulldogs and the Southern California Trojans play in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday afternoon.

Fresno State finished 11-1 overall and 7-1 in the Mountain West this season. The Bulldogs had their BCS hopes dashed with a loss in their final regular-season game. Fresno State has the top-ranked passing and fifth-ranked scoring offense in the country, but allowed 736 total yards in a 62-52 loss at San Jose State and have struggled mightily against the pass this season. Fresno State is led by QB Derek Carr, who has passed for a nation-leading 4,866 yards with 48 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Carr’s favorite target is WR Davante Adams, who has 122 catches for 1,645 yards and 23 touchdowns. Defensively, the Bulldogs have a weak secondary, which could receive a boost if cornerback L.J. Jones returns after missing the last five games with a knee injury. Overall, the defense is allowing 425.8 total yards a game and giving up 29.1 points per game.

Fresno State Bulldogs vs. Southern Cal Trojans Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/21/13 Las Vegas Bowl

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

The Trojans finished 9-4 overall and 6-3 in the Pac-12 this year. The Trojans went 6-2 with impressive wins against Arizona and Stanford under interim coach Ed Orgeron, who was replaced after a 35-14 loss to rival UCLA in the regular-season finale. USC looks to finish on a high note while playing for its third coach of the season. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton will lead the Trojans in Las Vegas before new coach Steve Sarkisian takes over next season. The Trojans offense is led by QB Cody Kessler who has improved after a shaky start. Kessler has two future NFL receivers in Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor. The offense has produced 392.3 yards per game and averages 28.5 points per contest this season. The Pac-12’s second-ranked scoring defense figures to be tested by the explosive Bulldogs, and CB Josh Shaw’s matchup with Adams should be worth the price of admission. The USC defense is allowing 341.2 yards per game and only 21.3 points per contest this year.

Fresno State defeated the Trojans 24-7 in the 1992 Freedom Bowl, and USC won a thrilling 50-42 game in 2005. The teams are also scheduled to open the 2014 season against each other in Los Angeles. This game could be a high scoring affair, as both teams have big play ability. Lee and Agholor should have a great day against a weak Fresno State secondary, while Carr and company should produce some points if the offensive line can contain the front seven of USC. I think USC has more talent and will be looking to make a statement heading into next season. The Trojans win this game by 10 or more points and I also think we will see this game go over 70 points combined.

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