In the past few years, the USC Trojans have not played up to their full potential, and still have not made the college football playoffs since they began a few years ago. USC had a big opportunity this bowl season, as they got to play the Penn State Nittany Lions in the Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl is considered by many as the second biggest bowl in college football, after the National Championship game. This year USC had a very unexpected opponent in Penn State. After having strict sanctions the past 5 years, Penn State exploded on the scene this year and ended up winning the Big Ten conference and earning a spot in the Rose Bowl.
Heading into this year's Rose Bowl game, all the experts were picking USC to win the game and beat the champs from the Big Ten. USC ended the season on a winning streak and was looking hot coming into the Rose Bowl. Although, the same could of been said for the Nittany Lions as well, as nobody in the world picked them during the preseason to win the Big Ten. This Rose Bowl game will go down as one of the best the the country has ever seen, as both teams left everything on the field. It was an up and down battle throughout, with lots of lead changes and big plays on both sides of the ball. At one point, each team was up by multiple touchdowns, and each team appeared to have the edge.
At the end, USC was able to pull out the huge win, in front of mostly their home fans, in the last few minutes of the contest. Matt Boermeester kicked a 46-yard field goal as time expired, to give the Trojans the Rose Bowl victory. Leon McQuay set up the game-winning kick by intercepting a pass near midfield and returning it to the Nittany Lions' 32-yard line. Early in the 4th quarter, it looked as if the Nittany Lions were going to pull it off and win the game, but the Trojans never stopped fighting. They were able to make some huge plays late in the game, and their freshman QB looked like a season veteran in the last drive of the night.
The Trojans went into halftime leading 27-21, but in the 3rd quarter, the Nittany Lions scored three touchdowns, in three plays, to take a 42-27 lead, behind running back, Saquon Barkley, and receiver Chris Godwin. However, USC never gave up in the game, and it showed at the very end when they left the field victorious with the Rose Bowl trophy in hand. USC finished the season 10-3, winning nine consecutive games after a 1-3 start and Penn State fell to 11-3. Both teams will return a bunch of key players next season and will certainly hope to be in the mix for the college football playoffs.