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USC Tops Penn State in Record-Setting Rose Bowl

Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual - USC v Penn State
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Granddaddy of Them All didn’t disappoint as USC beat Penn State in a wild 52-49 shootout that went right down to the wire.

No. 5 Penn State’s first four possessions resulted in just 36 yards and two interceptions. It looked to be the Trojans’ day as No. 9 USC jumped out to a 13-0 lead and was up 27-14 in the final minute of the second quarter. But the Nittany Lions finally flipped a switch to roll off 28 unanswered points and take a 49-35 lead into the fourth quarter.

However, USC rallied in the final nine minutes of the game, with two 80+yard touchdown drives to tie the game with just 1:20 to play. Penn State appeared poised to run out the clock and send the game to overtime, but quarterback Trace McSorley threw his third pick of the game to set up Matt Boermeester’s 46-yard field goal as time expired to give the Trojans their third bowl win in four years.

The game was wild from the beginning with both teams posting monster offensive numbers. USC quarterback Sam Darnold threw for 453 yards and five touchdowns while McSorley countered with 448 total yards and five touchdowns (two rushing). The game truly was one for the record books, with these being just some of the new Rose Bowl marks set.

  • Most Combined Points – 101
  • Most points in a quarter – 28 (PSU in 3rd)
  • Most TD passes – 5 (Darnold)
  • Most TD responsible for – 5 (Darnold and McSorley)

Penn State has been a second half team all year and, for a while, it appeared their luck would continue. But a costly turnover and redemption for a kicker who had missed two field goals earlier sent the Trojans home with their 25th Rose Bowl trophy.

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