Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl 2013 Notes & Quotes


GAME NOTES: No. 20 Fresno State at No. 25 USC

No. 25 (BCS) USC defeated No. 20 Fresno State 45-20 to give the Trojans their 10th win of the season. USC evened its record in Las Vegas at 1-1 as the Trojans lost their only previous appearance at the RPLVB in 2001.
The Pac-12 Conference won a RPLVB for the first time since Arizona defeated BYU in 2008. The league upped its record in the game to 6-7.
The Mountain West fell to 9-6 all-time in Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. 

The attendance of 42,178 marked the second-largest crowd in RPLVB and Sam Boyd Stadium history. The only game that attracted more fans in stadium, bowl and state history was the 2006 contest between BYU and Oregon when 44,615 saw the Cougars win 38-8. That game included temporary stands in the North End Zone.

The RPLVB sold out for the seventh time in the last nine years of the game, which began in 1992.
USC sophomore quarterback Cody Kessler only needed the first half to break the RPLVB record for touchdown passes in a game as he notched four of them through the second quarter. The previous record of three for a game was held by four players and most recently accomplished by BYU’s Max Hall vs. Oregon State in 2009.
Kessler was named the Rossi T. Ralenkotter Most Valuable Player after completing 22 of 30 attempts for 344 yards and the four scores and one interception. His yardage total ranked fourth all-time at the RPLVB.
Kessler’s 73.3 completion percentage (23-30) ranked third in RPLVB history and was the best ever here by someone not named Kellen Moore.
USC sixth-year senior walkon center Abe Markowitz was named the Royal Purple Offensive
Outperformer of the Game while sophomore USC cornerback Kevon Seymour, who led the Trojans in tackles with seven, along with a PBU, was named the Royal Purple Defensive Outperformer of the Game.
Fresno State senior quarterback Derek Carr broke the RPLVB record for most pass attempts in a game with 54, which was held by BYU’s John Beck, who threw 53 times vs. Cal in 2005. Carr’s 30 completions tied for second all-time at the RPLVB. The 55 total passing attempts for the Bulldogs was also a RPLVB record, besting 53 by BYU vs. Cal in 2005.
Two Trojan players tied the RPLVB record with two touchdown receptions in the game (junior Marqise Lee and sophomore Nelson Agholor). They joined eight other players in holding the record, with the most recent being Holden Huff of Boise State vs. Washington in 2012. Lee’s 118 yards on seven catches gave him the 10th-most yards in RPLVB history. 

Freshman Da’Mari Scott of Fresno State broke the RPLVB record with six kickoff returns in the game, which bested the five returned by Shane Williams-Rhodes of Boise State in 2012 vs. Washington and Jonathan Stewart of Oregon vs. BYU in 2006.

Fresno State sophomore punter Garret Swanson booted a bowl-record 69-punt in the second quarter. He bested the 66-yarder by Brian Schmitz of North Carolina vs. San Diego State in 1998. Swanson finished with an average of 45.7 yards on seven attempts, which ranked him third in RPLVB history. 

Fresno State’s six rushing attempts shattered the RPLVB record for fewest attempts in a game. The previous record was 21 by Arizona State vs. Boise State in 2011.

Fresno State DB Derron Smith ranked second in RPLVB history with 18 total tackles, trailing only Troy Polamalu, who had 20 for USC vs. Utah in 2001. Smith also had the second-most solo tackles in a RPLVB with 11 (Polamalu with 12). Smith also became the fifth player to return an interception for a touchdown, taking back a Kessler pass 41 yards for the score. 

Fresno State, which came in averaging 79 total offensive plays a game, had the fifth least in a RPLVB with just 61.

USC scored the most points in the first half of a RPLVB with 35, which was four points better than UNLV scored in 1994 and Oregon State scored in 2003. 

USC also scored the most points in the second quarter of a RPLVB with 21. The previous record was 17 by UNLV in 1994 and BYU in 2006.

Fresno State tied the RPLVB record for fewest rushing first downs with just one (ASU vs. Boise State in 2011). 

USC, which was playing in its 50th bowl game, improved its record to 33-17 in the postseason. Fresno State lost its fifth straight bowl game and fell to 11-14 overall in bowls.

USC broke the record for most time of possession with 41:27, besting the record of 38:01 set by Utah in 2001 vs. the Trojans.


They had a heckuva run until this point. We went into this game expecting to compete and have it come down to the end.

Clearly early in the game we didn't make enough plays to get into a rhythm. Defensively we didn't make enough tackles. We have a lot respect for USC, they got really good players and they're very well coached and they played very inspired today.

Physically, they were the most impressive team we've played the last two years. They play inspired; they played very, very well. Early on we had a couple opportunities on third down to get off the field, it could have changed the game and they converted.

We did a better job in the second half, but we dug ourselves too big of a hole.

I think you look at the body of work, this team won 11 ball games and won a second straight conference championship. There's critics out there, everyone's got an opinion. I know in my heart we had a really, really fine football team. We didn't play our best game today, and that goes on me, I gotta do a better job of getting our guys ready.

I think we were beaten by a better team today. I think if we would have played our best game, it may have been a different outcome, but today clearly they were better.

He hit some guys in the hands that we had some drops. They did a good job covering our receivers. It was a combination of those things, and he didn't have his best game clearly. It was more  of a factor of the guys playing against us than it was him being off because of an injury or something.

We talked in the locker room, I talked to all the seniors. I told I loved them, I'm gonna miss them and just extremely disappointed for them. This is not the way any of us wanted to finish this season. We thought this was a group that had really worked their tails off; that had earned the right to compete for a bowl game championship. It hurts when you invest that much and you still fall short. It's a bitter pill that you gotta swallow.

Boise State compares to them, speed-wise, they've got a lot of talent. Oregon is still the fastest team I've ever played in my life. But they got a front, a great team. They weren't confusing us much. We knew what they were in, knew what they were doing. The film study helped. But give them all the credit, they're a very talented group and the defensive coordinator puts them in good positions to be successful and they did a good job.

Blame me. Blame me always. Don't blame anybody else, I gotta do a better job of leading and I gotta do a better job of getting our guys in better spots. That's my fault.

I felt we were prepared, I thought the coach did a great job with the practices, the curfews - all those things. I thought our guys were ready to go. There wasn't any lack of focus on any side of the ball during practice. USC just beat us.

I think it's good. We got a lot of talented players. We got great coaches. I think the sky's the limit, we just gotta keep working to keep getting better. We gotta take this loss and use it to fuel next season.

It was a challenge like I said it would be. The coaches did a good job of getting us prepared. It was just on us missing tackles, a few missed assignments, so it was on us, we gotta play better. Can't give up 45 points and expect to win, even with our potent offense, we still gotta make plays.

USC Postgame Quotes: Interim Head Coach Clay Helton, QB Cody Kessler, CB Josh Shaw

USC’s Clay Helton

Just ready proud of our football team, proud for the Trojan family.  We came into this game wanting to make the Trojan family proud and I can’t tell you how excited I am about the accomplishments they made.

These guys did a tremendous job of executing a game plan and really being into this game.
I would like to thank the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl and the city of Las Vegas for a tremendous week.
Helton on team speed affecting Fresno

They have a tremendous football team.  We have a lot of respect for them. I was very nervous coming in about the amount of pressure they bring on, especially when you have two backup offensive linemen playing. It was just an unbelievable job by the offensive line.

Kessler on going up against Carr

Derek is a great quarterback, but that is what our defense has done all year. Our defense is so good at stopping the run, stopping the pass, confusing teams.  It makes a good quarterback frustrated.  I see it everyday at practice.

Kessler on his success today

It was a great game today and it is 100% due to the offensive line. They studied film all week and worked so hard. It is due to them and our receivers who are freak athletes.  They make plays.  That is why they come to SC.  They get the ball and make plays.  That is my job just to get the ball to them and let them make plays.

Helton on defense

Clancy Pendergast and the defense to hold that offense to 254 yards when it averages 570 a game with a tremendous quarterback and receiving corp is really something. We came into this game with a game plan to being ultra aggressive in all three phases of the game. It didn’t all work but we wanted that mindset from the start.

Shaw on covering Adams

My hat goes off to our front seven.  I have been in college football for four years now and have had a different defensive coordinator every year.  Coach Pendergast is second to none.  As far as me, it is a challenging position to play defensive back and playing Adams today was just another challenge. I face receivers like that everyday in practice. I just wanted to be real physical with him and kind of mix it up with him.