The 103rd Rose Bowl was, in a word, epic. The USC Trojans battled back from a 14-point fourth quarter deficit to defeat the Penn State Nittany Lions 52-49 in a record-shattering performance in Monday’s Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual.
Some of the records that were broken included most total points (102), coldest weather at kickoff (55 degrees), and most touchdown passes (USC’s Sam Darnold’s five TD throws).
The classic seesaw meeting lived up to expectations, as the teams racked up points and yards, setting the stage for a thrilling, dramatic conclusion. SC fans stormed the field and tore down the goalpost as Matt Boremeester nailed the game-winning 46-yard field goal as time expired.
It was a four-hour flurry of offense and excellent individual performances. For USC, freshman quarterback Darnold threw for 453 yards and five touchdown passes. His favorite targets were Juju Smith-Schuster and Deontay Burnett, who grabbed 13 receptions for 164 yards, and two TDs.
True to form, the Nittany Lions proved to be a second-half team. Pouncing in the third quarter, reeling off 28 straight points, to take a 42-27 lead that wouldn’t stand.
Penn State proved to be a worthy foe, behind Quarterback Trace McSorley, Wide Receiver Chris Godwin had the game of his life, including a remarkable 79-yard TD reception that deflected off a USC defensive back, into his waiting arms.
After the Trojans drove 80 yards down the field, knotting the game at 49 all, Penn State panicked.
Since the game was played on Monday, allow me to play Thursday morning quarterback. Penn State elected to go for the victory, rather than doing the prudent decision to go to overtime, especially considering QB McSorley nearly threw the fatal pick on the previous play. Well, Leon McQuay III wasn’t going to drop two in a row.
USC finishes the year with a record of 10-3. This was their 25th Rose Bowl win, also a record.