Instant Classic, Eternal Tears: Southern Cal Defeats Penn State in the Rose Bowl Game, 52-49

By Chris Grovich on January 2, 2017 at 9:43 pm
Saquon Barkley, rumbling
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the highest scoring Rose Bowl Game ever, Penn State lost to Southern Cal, 52-49. The Lions started slowly, with two punts and two interceptions on their first four possessions as the Trojans took an early 13-0 lead. After that, the game turned into an absolute shootout, with the teams scoring a combined 71 points in the second and third quarters.

Penn State’s offense scored touchdowns on seven consecutive possessions en route to a 49-35 lead. However, the Trojans also had a comeback in their pocket, with Sam Darnold leading his team on touchdown drives of 83 and 80 yards to tie the game, 49-49, with 1:20 remaining. Penn State took over at their own 35 yard line after a good Saquon Barkley kickoff return, but Trace McSorley forced an extremely poor throw into double coverage that was intercepted by USC’s Leon McQuay, who returned the ball to the Penn State 33.

USC played it conservatively with no timeouts remaining, electing to run for five yards and spike the ball on second down. After missing two long field goals earlier in the game, Matt Boermeester hooked a 46-yard try between the uprights on the game’s final play for the 52-49 win.

Sam Darnold completely shredded the Nittany Lion defense, throwing for 453 yards and 5 touchdowns. Deontay Burnett caught 13 passes for 164 yards and 3 touchdowns, while JuJu Smith-Schuster caught 7 balls for 133 yards and 1 touchdown.

Trace McSorley finished 18 of 29, for 254 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Most of the Penn State receivers had a quiet night, but that most certainly did not apply to Chris Godwin, who found success throughout the Trojan defense. Godwin reeled in 9 catches for 187 yards and 2 touchdowns. He turned a tipped pass into an amazing and unlikely 72-yard touchdown catch. Saquon Barkley ran for 194 yards on 25 carries, including an electric 79 yard touchdown in a frenzied third quarter.

Penn State finishes the season at 11-3. USC concludes the season with a 10-3 record.


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