Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets players Tevin Washington (13) and Orwin Smith (17) hold the 2012 Sun Bowl trophy after the game against the Southern California Trojans at Sun Bowl Stadium. Georgia Tech defeated USC 21-7.(Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports)
EL PASO, Texas -- Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score, helping the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets snap a streak of seven consecutive losses in bowl games with a 21-7 victory over the USC Trojans in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.
Washington carried the ball 16 times for 46 yards for the Yellow Jackets (7-7), who won a bowl game for the first time since 2004. He also completed 3- of-5 passes for 49 yards.
Vad Lee rushed for 52 yards on 10 carries and connected on 2-of-5 passes for 26 yards and a touchdown for Georgia Tech, which made its 16th consecutive bowl appearance, the fourth-longest active streak in the nation.
"I am really proud of our football team and the way they played today," said Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson. "They played with a lot of heart and I know Southern California has some really good football players. It was a hard fought football game and I am really proud of our team and I thought they played well."
Freshman Max Wittek completed 14-of-37 passes for 107 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions for the Trojans (7-6), who were back in a bowl game following a two-year NCAA-imposed bowl ban.
Wittek was starting in place of Matt Barkley, who missed the game due to a sprained right throwing shoulder.
"Obviously a very disappointing day," said USC head coach Lane Kiffin. "It came down to turning the ball over and third down efficiency. I thought the defense did a really good job at limiting them all day."
The teams battled through a scoreless first quarter, though USC kicker Andre Heidari lined up for a 38-yard field goal with less than 7 1/2 minutes remaining in the period. Despite the kick clearly missing wide left, the refs initially signaled that it was good. Upon further review, it was determined the ball did in fact go wide left.
Georgia Tech broke the scoreless tie with a 14-play, 74-yard drive that bridged the first and second frames.
Lee ran for eight yards on 3rd-and-7 to keep the march alive, and Chris Jackson added a 23-yard catch on the first play of the second stanza. Three plays later, B.J. Bostic carried the ball for five yards for another conversion on third down. David Sims then capped the drive with a 3-yard TD catch from Lee on 3rd-and-goal.
The Trojans had a great chance to get on the board after Lamar Dawson picked off Lee. His 22-yard return put the ball at the Georgia Tech 33.
Just two plays later, Wittek was intercepted by Rod Sweeting, who returned the ball 21 yards to the Georgia Tech 46. However, the Yellow Jackets turned the ball over four plays afterward.
Lee's fumble set up USC at their own 41-yard line with 3:24 left in the first half. Robert Woods caught a 23-yard pass on 3rd-and-10 to move the ball to the Georgia Tech 36, and following four runs by Silas Redd, the Trojans faced a 3rd-and-goal from the nine. Redd then caught a pass for a touchdown to make it 7-7.
The Yellow Jackets got a big play from their special teams unit early in the second half, as Jamal Golden returned a punt 56 yards to the 1-yard line. Washington then rumbled into the end zone to make it 14-7 in favor of Georgia Tech.
USC turned the ball over on downs late in the third quarter. The Trojans had the ball at the Georgia Tech 44 after the ball hit off the Yellow Jackets' Demond Smith of the Yellow Jackets during a punt. But on 4th-and-4 from the 38, Wittek had his pass batted down at the line.
Georgia Tech scored a touchdown on its ensuing possession. Jeremy Moore caught a 27-yard pass on the first play to move the ball to the USC 35. Zach Laskey then ran for five yards on 3rd-and-2 to keep the march alive before Orwin Smith capped the drive with a 17-yard TD catch from Washington on 3rd-and- goal, making it 21-7 with 13:11 to play.
Wittek was intercepted twice in the final period to prevent a Trojans' comeback.
The all-time series between USC and Georgia Tech is tied, 2-2. Monday's game marked the first meeting between these two teams since 1973 ... Sweeting was named the MVP of the game ... USC's overall postseason record is 32-17 (1 win and 1 loss were later vacated due to NCAA penalty) ... The Yellow Jackets improved to 23-18 in bowl games ... Redd carried the ball 17 times for 88 yards ... Georgia Tech racked up 294 yards on the ground, compared to 98 for USC.