EL PASO — USC waited two years for a chance to play in a bowl game.
But based on the Trojans’ performance against Georgia Tech on Monday in the Sun Bowl, it might have been wise to have postponed it another year.
Georgia Tech, which needed an NCAA waiver to play in a bowl, defeated USC , 21-7, sending the Trojans to their fifth loss in six games and a 7-6 finish.
It was, perhaps, an appropriate end to a lost season that began with the Trojans ranked No. 1.
On a chilly, windy day, Georgia Tech held USC to its fewest points of the season and turned up the heat on Trojans Coach Lane Kiffin.
Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington ran for a touchdown and passed for another as the Yellow Jackets ended a seven-game losing streak in bowl games.
Back-up quarterback Vad Lee also hurt the Trojans, rushing for 52 yards and passing for a touchdown. David Sims had 99 yards in 17 carrries to lead a Georgia Tech running game that gained 289 yards.
USC quarterback Max Wittek, who had played well in place of injured Matt Barkley against Notre Dame, looked shaky against the Yellow Jackets.
The redshirt freshman completed only 14 of 37 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown, with three interceptions. The second was picked off in the end zone in the fourth quarter as the Trojans appeared to be rallying.
Receiver Marqise Lee caught only six passes for 41 yards.
Tailback Silas Redd had 88 yards in 17 carries and scored the Trojans’ touchdown on a short pass from Wittek.
Georgia Tech’s Jamal Golden returned a punt 56 yards early in the third quarter set up a one-yard touchdown run by Washington, ending a 7-7 tie and sending the Yellow Jackets on their way.
The Trojans got a break late in the third quarter after a punt by Kyle Negrete hit a Georgia Tech player and receiver Nelson Agholor recovered the ball.
USC kept possession, but Georgia Tech defensive lineman Izaan Cross broke up Wittek’s fourth-down pass at the Yellow Jackets 38.
Washington then directed a drive that he capped with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Orwin Smith for a 21-7 lead with just over 13 minutes to play.
Georgia Tech outgained the Trojans, 167-116, in the first half.
After a scoreless first quarter, Georgia Tech scored on a 74-yard drive that Lee capped with a three-yard touchdown pass to fullback Sims.
USC wasted an opportunity in the second quarter.
Middle linebacker Lamar Dawson intercepted a pass, but the Trojans gave the ball right back when Rod Sweeting intercepted a pass by Wittek.
Georgia Tech, however, fumbled on the ensuing possession and USC drove 41 yards, scoring on Wittek’s nine-yard pass to tailback Redd with less than a minute left in the first half.