SAN DIEGO, CA — Quarterback Miller Moss throws 372 yards and a USC bowl game record six touchdown to lead USC over #15 Louisville, 42-28, to win the 2023 DIRECTV Holiday Bowl.
USC (8-5) came into the game as a seven-point underdog with so many players in the portal and declaring for the NFL Draft including former Heisman winning quarterback, Caleb Williams.
With Williams on the sideline, Moss was starting his first game of his collegiate career and put on a performance that was very reminiscent of Williams himself. Moss had played in just 11 games in three seasons, going 43 of 59 for 542 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions.
“When you get your opportunity, you gotta shine,” USC center Justin Dedich said after the game. “And (tonight) Miller’s the definition of that.”
“He was awesome,” coach Lincoln Riley said of Moss’ performance. When asked if Moss possibly solidified his role as the team’s starter for next season. Riley responded saying “Shoot, he may have scared off anybody that would want to come here anyway.”
The surprise play wasn’t the only spark for Southern California as redshirt senior wide receiver, Tahj Washington, who was playing in his final game with the Trojans, led the receiver group with seven catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns to help Moss on his historic night. The wide receivers made big plays throughout the Trojan win and it was an effort that included vets and young players.
“There was just a lot of playmakers on both sides guys had chances to make plays on both sides and really stepped up,” Riley said.
The game didn’t start off so well for USC as the offense had a quick three and out and Louisville quickly responded with a touchdown score.
It was all Moss and the Trojans after that with not much resistance from the Cardinals.
The Trojans defense did just enough to help put them over the top causing two turnovers (one in each half).
But the story of the game was the offense and the play of Moss in front of the heavily Trojans Petco Park crowd.
“We could have come into this game not caring about it,” Riley said. “Honestly, all the years and wins and stuff, this was as fun a win as I can remember as a head coach. Just with all the changes, all the back and forth, six weeks, 20-plus guys that didn’t play in this game for different reasons. … That’s a good football team that we just beat.”
The Trojans played their final Pac-12 football game. They are joining the Big Ten next season, along with fellow Pac-12 defectors UCLA, Oregon and Washington.