The fact Southern California went for it on fourth down and attempted both an onside kick and 2-point conversion during Saturday’s Las Vegas Bowl victory over Fresno State at Sam Boyd Stadium ordinarily wouldn’t be much more than a footnote to a 45-20 victory.
If this is how its conference champion looks, the Mountain West isn’t close to average on a national scale. Fresno State was never in its 45-20 loss to Southern California in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday, never competitive at Sam Boyd Stadium against a No. 5 selection out of the Pac-12, never close to being on an even level of size, speed, strength, skill and execution.
Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr looked in pain as he sat down at the post-game news conference Saturday.
The NFL agent was talking about the inevitability of comparison between draft choices past and present, about how scouts and general managers might look down on a wide receiver from one school because others from it had failed, about how they might downgrade a linebacker because his was a college system that doesn’t always transfer successfully to the pros.
For the Las Vegas Bowl, Fresno State vs. USC is a dream matchup. Or it should be, as long as both teams really want to be here.
The Las Vegas Bowl will feature a quarterback from Bakersfield, Calif., putting up impressive numbers. And Fresno State’s Derek Carr will be on the other side.
Fresno, Calif., is tucked away in the San Joaquin Valley and the local team plays most of its home games at around 10 p.m. Eastern time. Coach Tim DeRuyter thinks that’s why Davante Adams hasn’t received more recognition for putting up the nation’s best receiving numbers.
The Las Vegas Bowl has a recent history of landing key teams, using appearances by Brigham Young and Boise State to draw large crowds to Sam Boyd Stadium.
Southern California, a school accustomed to playing in the Rose Bowl and for national titles, is in town for the Las Vegas Bowl with offensive coordinator Clay Helton serving not only as the interim coach but also the Trojans’ third coach this season.
Fresno State and Southern California have each accepted bids to play in the Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium on Dec. 21.