It was formally announced on Sunday that USC and Fresno State would face each other in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, which is set to be played on Saturday, Dec. 21 at Sam Boyd Stadium.
The Trojans and Bulldogs have met just two other times and the series is tied at 1-1. The Trojans’ lone victory came in a 2005 50-42 shootout on a November night at the Coliseum.
The win has since been vacated as part of the NCAA sanctions that were handed down in 2010, but for those who were in attendance or at home watching, they witnessed one of the more impressive individual performances in USC history.
It was No. 1 USC vs. No. 16 Fresno State.
Then Bulldogs coach Pat Hill had his feisty team not only ready to compete, but as a 23-point underdog, primed for an upset.
After stopping the Trojans’ first offensive drive of the game, the Bulldogs quickly took the lead on a nine-play, 81-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown.
The following drive, Reggie Bush began his assault on the Bulldog defense with a 65-yard rush that set up LenDale White’s game-tying touchdown run.
On many of Bush’s 24 carries he ran past, ran over, and fought off tacklers en route to a career-high 294 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
For good measure Bush caught three passes for 68 yards and added in 135 yards on seven kickoff returns.
The play most recall is the handoff Bush took up the left sideline before cutting back at the Bulldogs’ 25 yard line and finishing off the touchdown-scoring run as Bush ran to his right and crossed the field.
Despite the body blows Bush was delivering to their defense, the Bulldogs hung tough and managed to take a 41-41 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
While the defense surrendered 42 points and was gashed for 427 yards of total offense, the Trojans managed to get key stops and force turnovers.
Bulldogs quarterback Paul Pinegar threw four interceptions, with two of them coming deep in Trojan territory.
Pinegar’s last interception came with 1:37 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs looking to tie the game.
The win was the Trojans 33rd in a row, and 26th in a row at the Los Angeles Coliseum.