USC's final shot at making at least the score respectable ended on yet another poorly thrown Max Wittek pass and another nice play by Georgia Tech Quayshawn Nealy.
The only difference this time was that instead of Wittek's pass hitting Nealy in the chest, the linebacker leaped up to tip the pass and Jamal Charles came up with the interception.
Georgia Tech then ran out the clock for its 21-7 win, which ended a seven-game bowl losing streak.
Wittek completed 14 of 37 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions. All-American Marqise Lee had six catches for just 41 yards. Silas Redd ran for 88 yards in 17 carries.
USC, which was ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press preseason poll, finished with a record of 7-6.
Georgia Tech, which had to petition the NCAA to play in a bowl game with a losing record, finished with a record of 7-7.
David Sims ran for 99 yards for the Yellow Jackets, which held a 289-98 edge over the Trojans in rushing.
Well, it's a little late now, but ... Cody Kessler anyone?
USC was showing a pulse, having driven inside the Georgia Tech 10 yard line, until quarterback Max Wittek's really, really bad day got a little worse.
Wittek, given plenty of time, tried to force a pass between defenders to Robert Woods sprinting along the backside of the end zone.
But the pass inside found the chest of Georgia Tech linebacker Quayshawn Nealy.
Wittek, a redshirt freshman making his second career start, has completed 13 of 31 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
Backup Kessler has not played.
USC's lowest point total in a game to date was 13 against top-ranked Notre Dame.
Unranked Georgia Tech, which needed a special waiver from the NCAA to play in a bowl game with a losing record, has held the Trojans to seven points.
USC has the ball on its own 29, down two touchdowns, with 8 minutes 37 seconds left in regulation.
Georgia Tech 21, USC 7 (13:11 left in fourth quarter)
Georgia Tech had a 14-point lead last year in the Sun Bowl against Utah and couldn't hold it, losing in overtime.
Its chances of holding on against USC look a lot better.
Quarterback Tevin Washington just connected with Orwin Smith on a 17-yard scoring play to cap a nine-play, 62-yard drive.
The drive started with the Yellow Jackets' other quarterback, Vad Lee, completing a 27-yard pass to Jeremy Moore.
After seven consecutive runs, Washington hit Smith at about the 10 yardline and Smith broke Nickell Robey's tackle attempt at about the five.
Georgia Tech's defense is dominating USC. The Trojans don't have a first down in the second half with the third quarter almost over, and they couldn't even capitalize on another Georgia Tech turnover.
After yet another three-plays-and-out possession and during yet another low, short Kyle Negrete punt, USC got a big break on a heads up play by freshman Nelson Agholor.
Agholor was running alongside Georgia Tech's Demond Smith with Negrete's punt grazed Smith's shoulder. Agholor sprinted to the ball and grabbed it just before Yellow Jackets return man Jamal Golden got there.
Agholor's recovery gave USC the ball at the Georgia Tech 44.
Two runs by Silas Redd netted four yards. A pass from Max Wittek to Redd earned three more yards.
On fourth-and-three, a Wittek pass was batted down and Georgia Tech's 14-7 lead was still safe.
It doesn't do USC any good to have two of the best receivers in college football when the Trojans can't get them the ball.
Midway through the third quarter, Marqise Lee has three catches for 33 yards -- with a long of 23.
Robert Woods also has three catches -- one for 17 yards and the other two for a total of one yard.
Anticipating the question of some USC fans, quarterback Max Browne, the Gatorade high school player of the year from Skyline High in Washington, plans to enroll in college early and will be competing in spring practice.
Not sure why you might be wondering about that right now, but just so you know...
Georgia Tech 14, USC 7 (12:23 left in third quarter)
USC's choice to punt low so the kick didn't get knocked down by the wind just backfired.
After a three-plays-and-out first possession of the second half, Kyle Negrete's short punt was gathered in by Jamal Golden at the Georgia Tech 43 and returned all the way to the one yard line.
Tevin Washington scored on keeper from there.
Some halftime numbers from the Sun Bowl:
Georgia Tech leads in total offense, 167-116.
Max Wittek has completed seven of 13 passes for 58 yards with a touchdown and an interception for USC.
The Trojans' leading rusher is Silas Redd, who has 48 yards in 10 carries.
Vad Lee leads Georgia Tech. He's completed two of four passes for 26 yards and a touchdown with an interception, and he has run for 54 yards in nine carries.
USC 7, Georgia Tech 7 (49 seconds left in second quarter)
The ball bounced right -- twice -- for USC and Silas Redd.