Freedom Bowl Recap
Dec. 29, 1982
Score By Quarters USC 0 7 0 0 - 7 Fresno State 0 7 3 14 - 24ANAHEIM, Calif. - Fresno State pulled the bowl season's biggest and most talked about upset with a stunning 24-7 win over Southern Cal in the Freedom Bowl IX held in Anaheim Stadium. The Bulldogs dominated the Trojans in every facet of the game, most notably in total offense, where Fresno State enjoyed a 405-183 advantage.
Offense is what took Fresno state to the Freedom Bowl, but defense is what won the game that Bulldogs' head coach Jim Sweeeney said was the "biggest game in Bulldog history."
The 'Dogs stole four turnovers from the favored Trojans and allowed only one third-down conversion in nine attempts. USC quarterback Rob Johnson found only seven completions in the Bulldogs' secondary and threw three interceptions. Those defensive numbers, plus a Fresno State offense that ran 84 plays created chaos for the tradition-packed Trojans.
In the second, the always-responsive Bulldogs answered an early Trojan touchdown with an 11-play, 70-yard drive resulting in a 1-yard plunge by game MVP Lorenzo Neal. Four mid-range passes by Trent Dilfer, including a 10-yarder to Tydus Winans on fourth down at the USC 33, energized the drive.
Derek Mahoney added a field goal in the third quarter to give the 'Dogs the lead, but two fourth quarter touchdowns sent the 30,000 Red Wavers in attendance back home with a win. Eight runs for 32 yards helped set up a 22-yard pass from Dilfer to Winans that put Fresno State at the USC two-yard line with just under six minutes to play. From there, Anthony Daigle took the ball across the goal line.
Big runs of 32 yards by Ron Rivers and 17 by Daigle moved the 'Dogs up the field while using most of the remaining time on the clock. It took only five plays for Fresno State to travel 56 yards and get the game-clinching score on a 5-yard dash up the middle by Rivers.