Harvey Levine/FOS

Penn State Drops Rose Bowl Shootout To USC, 52-49

The Nittany Lions started cold, went super hot and ended up cold again as they fell to the Trojans in Pasadena.

PASADENA, Calif. — No. 5 Penn State (11-3) dropped a 52-49 shootout No. 9 USC (10-3) in the Rose Bowl here Monday.

Here is out quick recap of the action.


The Lowdown: Penn State didn't take long to fall into its habit of starting slow, as Miles Sanders failed to field the opening kickoff. When the ball did not bounce into the end zone, Sanders had to fall on it at his own 3-yard line. Neverthless, QB Trace McSorley came out firing from the end zone. WR De'Andre Thompkins cut off is route early, and the pass was picked by Iman Marshall, who stepped out at the PSU 35.

But the Trojans went three and out and Matt Boermeester missed a 50-yard field goal attempt.

RB Saquon Barkley got rolling on State's next series. He had carries of 12, 12 and three yards to take the ball to the Trojan 43. There, McSorley threw a short pass to Thompkins, who could not hold on. The deflected ball was picked by Adoree Jackson and returned to the USC 49.

From there, QB Sam Darnold led USC down the field. While scrambling out of the pocket, he found Deonta Burnett alone in the end zone to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead.

Penn State went three-and-out, giving USC great field position again — this time at its own 43. The Lions worked to pressure Darnold, but he used his quick feet to avoid sacks and allow his receivers extra time to get open. The Trojans marched to the PSU 4-yard line before things stalled. Boermeester was good from 22 yards to make it 10-0.

After another three-and-out for PSU, USC moved to the Lion 26 thanks in part to a double-reverse flea flicker. When the drive stalled, Boermeester hit a 44-yarder to make it 13-0 with 21 seconds left in another ugly first quarter for Penn State.

At the end of the quarter, USC had a 10:34-4:26 advantage in time of possession. The Trojans had run 28 plays to the Lions' 12.

Score At End Of Quarter: USC 13, Penn State 0


The Lowdown: With the first quarter out of the way, Penn State finally began moving the ball. After completing one pass in the opening 15 minutes, McSorley had two connections with WR Chris Godwin and another to Barkley. Barkley then took a handoff from his own backfield, zipped through a huge whole in the middle of the line and raced 24 yards for a score to make it 13-7.

USC responded quickly. PSU attempted a pooch kickoff from Tyler Davis and it gave the Trojans the ball at their own 40. Darnold aired out a 32-yard pass to Burnett and then RB Justin Davis broke off a 24-yard run. Darnold later hit Burnett on a swing pass for a 3-yard TD. USC was called for offensive pass interference on the play. But replay review determined the pass was completed behind the line, invalidating the PI. The TD stood and the Trojan led, 20-7.

Penn State countered by going 70 yards in four plays for a TD of its own. Godwin had two more big catches, including the 30-yarder for the score. It was 20-14 and the shootout was on.

Not to be outdone, Darnold led USC 75 yards in six plays, this time capping the drive with a 3-yard TD pass to Darreus Rogers to make it 27-14.

At this point, Darnold was 15 of 26 for 234 and three TDs.

But Godwin's huge game for the Lions continued on their next drive. He had three more catches — including an amazing one-handed stab for a first down. McSorley capped this drive with an 11-yard TD strike to TE Mike Gesicki ot make it 27-21 with :54 left in the half.

Godwin would finish the half with eight catches for 115 yards and a score.

Darnold got the ball to the PSU 31 with :02 left in the half before Boermeester pushed a 49-yard field goal try wide right.

Score At End Of Half: USC 27, Penn State 21.


The Lowdown: Penn State finally forced a USC punt to start the third quarter. Then on the Lions' first play from scrimmage, Barkley broke around right end, then cut back across the field, leaving a host of Trojans in his wake. He outraced everyone for a 79-yard TD and just like that, PSU took a 28-27 lead.

Another USC possession led to another punt. And then the Lions came up big again. On first down, McSorley threw a bomb for Godwin, who beat a DB for the jump ball and then flew down the field for a 72-yard score and 35-27 lead.

And it did not stop there. LB Brandon Bell came up with a pick for the Lions on USC's next possession and returned it to the Trojan 3. Unfortunately, he suffered what seemed to be an arm injury and was taken to the locker room.

McSorley ran it in from there to make it 42-27.

Penn State had three offensive plays in the quarter to that point. They all went for touchdowns.

Davis' kickoff went out of bounds, giving USC good field position to start its next drive. Rather than panic after PSU's explosion, the Trojans put together a methodical 10-play drive that culminated in Darnold's 13-yard TD pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster. USC went for two and Darnold completed the pass to Taylor McNamara to make it 42-35.

Then Penn State proved it could grind out a drive, too. The Lions went 82 yards in eight plays — and were helped along with two personal foul penalties on the Trojans. McSorley flipped a 7-yard pass to Barkley for a TD and 49-35 lead.

Score At End Of Quarter: Penn State 49, USC 35


The Lowdown: The Lions opened the fourth with a snuffed out run by Barkley. On the second play McSorely was forced to run, but  fumbled the ball, which PSU kept after a long, drawn out review. On third down the coaches went conservative, running Barkley for a short gain, forcing a PSU punt.

USC started at its 17-yard line and gained one yard on first down. Darnold is knocked down on a short gain on second down. On third down, USC made a lucky first down off a forced toss up to Smith-Shuster.

On first down USC gained six yards on a short slant route. On second USC picked up a 20-yard first down on a pass to the middle. On the next first Jones picked up seven on a run. USC picked up a couple on second down and one yard on third with a run for another first down.

At the 30-yard line, USC hit a long pass down to the PSU 3-yard line. On the next play USC scored to cut the lead to 49-42.

On Penn State's next drive it got a three and out on a few short plays and was forced to punt. The punt goes for no return on the 21-yard line.

On USC's first down it hit a first down for 18 yards. On the next snap Jones went for a 2-yard gain. On second down USC hit a swing pass, but Jones tripped and lost three yards, forcing a third and long. On the next play USC was flagged for a false start forcing third and 16. The third down pass went to Jones who iwas brought down after a six yard gain forcing a punt.

On the next snap, Penn State remained conservative, trying to bleed the clock as Barkley ran up the middle for one yard. On the next snap, Barkley got to the edge and picked up 12 yards for a first down. On the next snap, Barkley went up the middle for no gain. On second down Barkley picked up six yards forcing third and four. Barkley was hit for a loss resulting in a fourth down punt.

Gillikin hit a big boot which went for a touchback. Smith-Shuster pulled in an 11-yard reception for a first down. He then hit another 11-yard first down catch.

PSU's Jordan Smith was flagged for pass interference on the next pass. Haley was flagged on the next pass for another pass interference. USC hit a 27-yard touchdown strike to tie up the game.

Barkley made a strong return to the 35-yard line. After a run up the gut and  deep ball miss to Gesick, McSorely tossed an interception.

USC runs a run play, spikes the ball and hits a 46-yard field goal to win the game.

Score At End Of Game: USC 52, Penn State 49

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