USC Beats Penn State 52-49 in Wild Rose Bowl

Two storied college football programs that were nearly finished, or so it seemed, in the early part of the season but turned around with terrific second halves of their seasons met in the Rose Bowl on January 2nd, and it was an encounter of epic proportions.

USC started the season losing three of four, but then won eight straight. Penn State started the season 2-2, but then won nine in a row. Somebody’s winning streak would be coming to an end, but it would be in perhaps the most memorable Rose Bowl ever.

It was all USC in the first quarter. The Trojans had a 13-0 lead at the end of the quarter, but Penn State stormed back and it was 27-21 USC at the half. Penn State then exploded for three touchdowns in the third quarter with the help of some big plays. Saquon Barkley ran 79 yards for a touchdown which was followed by a 72 yard Trace McSorley to Chris Godwin touchdown pass. McSorley then scored on a three yard run and Penn State had a 42-27 lead. The teams traded touchdowns, and at the end of the third quarter it was 49-35 Penn State.

Then it was USC’s turn to make a comeback. Ronald Jones II scored on a three yard run with 8:15 left in the fourth quarter and it was 49-42. With 1:20 left, USC QB Sam Darnold threw his fifth TD pass of the game, a 27 yarder to Deontay Burnett and it was tied at 49-49. Then the USC defense made a big play in this offense dominated game when Leon McQuay III intercepted a McSorley pass with 27 seconds left and returned it 32 yards to the Penn State 33 yard line. It ended with a 46 yard field goal by Matt Boermeester as time ran out and USC won the highest scoring Rose Bowl in history 52-49.

Darnold passed for 453 yards and five touchdowns, with one intercepted. McSorley had 254 yards and four touchdowns, but he also was intercepted three times. USC is now 25-9 in Rose Bowls.

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