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Las Vegas Bowl Capsule

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The Associated Press | December 20, 2013 01:12 PM EST | AP


Las Vegas Bowl

No. 21 Fresno State (11-1) vs. USC (9-4), 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

Line: USC by 6.

Series Record: 1-1-0.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

After narrowly missing a BCS berth, Fresno State can close out a historic season with a victory over one of the nation's most glamorous programs. USC hopes to finish its tumultuous campaign with 10 victories under three head coaches as offensive coordinator Clay Helton steps in for this game.

KEY MATCHUP

Fresno State QB Derek Carr vs. USC DLs Leonard Williams and George Uko. While Carr attempts to finish his record-setting career by leading Fresno State's first bowl victory since 2007, Williams and Uko will anchor the defensive effort against the nation's top passing offense. Both Trojans are playing to honor Ed Orgeron, their former defensive line coach who resigned after Steve Sarkisian was hired for the full-time job.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Fresno State: LB Ejiro Ederaine. The Bulldogs' unlikely pass-rushing dynamo has 10 sacks and 15 1/2 tackles for loss this season, and he'll lead the effort against USC's pro-style offense.

USC: WR Marqise Lee. Almost everybody expects the former Biletnikoff Award winner to head for the NFL after the game, but he's motivated to put a big finish on his unimpressive junior season. He needs 12 catches to pass Robert Woods for the school's career receptions record.

FACTS & FIGURES

Sarkisian will attend the game, but only as an observer. Helton is running USC's offense and calling the plays, as he has done since Lane Kiffin was fired. ... Fresno State could set a school record with 12 wins in a season. ... Only 13 FBS schools allowed fewer than the USC defense's 21.3 points per game. ... USC is in its second straight bowl game after a two-year ban, but the Trojans haven't won a postseason game since 2009. ... Carr leads the nation in total offense, TD passes, total yards passing, yards passing per game and completions per game. ... USC RB Silas Redd is expected to miss the game with a right knee injury, ending the Penn State transfer's two Trojans seasons on the sideline. Redd rushed for just 376 yards this season while struggling with injuries. ... Pete Carroll's first team at USC lost the school's only previous appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2001. ... Fresno State beat USC 24-7 in the 1992 Freedom Bowl in Anaheim, Calif.