The USC Trojans began the year as one of the favorites to win the national championship. On Monday, they completed a forgettable season with a lackluster performance against Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. The Yellow Jackets dominated the Trojans for most of the game, picking up a 21-7 win.
Georgia Tech's strong running attack gave USC's defense problems all game. They carried the ball 61 times for 293 yards, good for an average of nearly five yards a carry. The Jackets had just 10 pass attempts. It was apparent from the opening kickoff that they had a game plan, and coach Paul Johnson stuck to it throughout.
USC really struggled to move the ball with star quarterback Matt Barkley sitting on the sidelines. Max Wittek had a day to forget, going 14-for-36 while throwing for just 107 yards and three interceptions. The Trojans had a chance to cut the deficit to seven points late in the game, but Wittek was intercepted in the end zone, essentially ending any chance the Trojans had to make a comeback.
With the win, Georgia Tech finishes the season with a 7-7 record. USC drops to 7-6.
Box Score Hero: The Jackets relied on a balanced attack on offense all game long. Nine players had at least one carry out of the backfield. As for the wide receivers, five players had just one catch for a total of 75 yards. Barkley being out clearly affected USC's star wide receiver Marqise Lee. Lee hauled in six passes for 41 yards, which was his least impressive showing of the season.
Rankings Ramifications: Both teams entered the game unranked. It seems unlikely the win will move Georgia Tech into any of the top 25 polls.
But Did They Cover?: Georgia Tech opened as 9 1/2 point underdogs. They did more than cover the spread in El Paso.
For More On This Game: For more on Trojans football, visit USC blog Conquest Chronicles, plus Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes and SB Nation Los Angeles. For more on Jackets football, visit Georgia Tech blog From The Rumble Seat, plus SB Nation Atlanta.