“Holiday Bowl-No Holiday for USC”
It was fierce, it was well-fought, it was a Wisconsin win and a USC-Trojans loss.
Yes, they may be off probation, but Southern Cal’s loss in the Holiday Bowls to the Big 10-Badgers showed a couple of things to the screaming-howling mob of fans at Qualcomm Stadium.
There’s lots of work to be done at Heritage Hall on the SC campus.
Wisconsin beat down the Trojans. The Badgers, known forever for their road-grader offensive line and full power run game, came out throwing, and kept throwing all night. In the face of a pretty strong SC pass rush, Badgers QB-Joel Stave kept completing passes. He got kicked in the facemask by accident, and probably broke his nose in the 4th quarter, but came right back, to manage his way to victory.
They surprised USC by throwing for (217)-yards in the win.
Wisconsin blitzed and blitzed and blitzed SC-QB Cody Kessler. He never had much time, never found much rhythm, and overthrew JuJu Smith-Schuster three times when the young receiver was open on deep patterns. When your quarterback keeps getting hit, they start to unload early, to get the ball away. Kessler did not have accuracy on a cold-brisk night in Mission Valley, because the heat was so hot on him.
The vaunted Trojans run game just never got going either, much of it because the Wisconsin blitz package clogged up run lanes, when not chasing Kessler around the field.
And even with officials mis-calls on plays, one that should have been a Badgers TD, Kessler still couldn’t move his team into position for a last second long distance field goal.
Wisconsin is for real. Their only losses were to Alabama, Iowa and Michigan State, and you know where those three teams are playing this weekend, don’t you?
For SC, they lose the quarterback, who goes to the NFL. Their top defender Sa’i Cravens, the linebacker-defensive end, is filing for the draft too. They lose offensive lineman and guys in the defensive front.
Clay Helton will have a full assortment of scholarships to use, but there will be missing pieces. SC winds up at (8-6), not all that impressive considering all the skill talent they have on the roster.
The fans got a good game, network television had a great finish, because it went to the final possession before the Badgers held on downs, even though it was 2:15am-on the East Coast when it finally ended.
Great game, just not a great finish to the USC season. Wisconsin enjoyed their Holiday Bowl trip to San Diego. Southern Cal, may have beaten UCLA earlier in the month, but have six losses around their neck, that symbolize they are not back yet. Not much of a Holiday for the Trojans on this visit.