Harvey Levine/FOS

ROSE BOWL: FOS Penn State Game Breakdown

We take a detailed look at the Nittany Lions' tough loss to USC in Pasadena, focusing on the things PSU fans surely want to know.

PASADENA, Calif. — The odds makers set the over/under for Monday’s 103rd rendition of the Rose Bowl at 60 points. They were just slightly off.

As it turned out, the game between No. 5 Penn State and No. 9 USC here became a matter of which team would score 50 points on its own first. Tied 49-49 with 1:20 to go, the Nittany Lions committed a huge turnover and the Trojans capitalized on it to eke out a 52-49 victory on the final play.

“You know, we didn’t do enough,” an emotional PSU coach James Franklin said afterward. “We needed to score one more time, we needed to get one more stop, and we didn’t do that.”

Here is our take on the highest scoring game in Rose Bowl history.

MAN OF THE HOUR 

Penn State RB Saquon Barkley had 25 carries for 194 yards and two TDs, five catches for 55 yards and a score, and two kickoff returns for 57 yards. That’s 306 all-purpose yards, if you’re keeping score at home. http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1742496-rose-bowl-psu-s-em...

CLOSE SECOND 

WR Chris Godwin set a PSU bowl record with nine catches for 187 yards and two scores. He has had at least 133 receiving yards in all three bowls he’s played in.

CLOSE THIRD

P Blake Gillikin averaged 50.8 yards on five boots, with a long of 65.

TURNING POINT

Penn State LB Brandon Bell came through with a huge interception in the third quarter, setting up QB Trace McSorley’s three-yard TD run that gave the Lions a 42-27 lead. BUT … Bell injured his right arm on the play and did not return. It is no coincidence that USC outscored Penn State 25-7 the rest of the way. The senior Bell was PSU’s best defensive player this year.

SOLID STRATEGY

USC coach Clay Helton allowed redshirt freshman Sam Darnold to air it out 53 times. He completed 33 for 453 yards, five TDs and only one pick. The Lions’ secondary had not faced a QB of this caliber all season long — he is accurate and just mobile enough to keep a defense honest.

NUMBERS GAME

• USC ran 88 plays but PSU only had one tackle for loss.

• McSorley had an interception on each of Penn State’s first two possessions. He had two interceptions in the Lions’ final nine regular-season games.

• The teams combined for 1,040 yards.

• Penn State had 465 yards of total offense. Barkley (259) and Godwin (187) combined for 346 of them.

• TE Mike Gesicki was held to one catch (albeit an 11-yard TD) and starting WR DaeSean Hamilton did not make a catch.

WHAT'S UP WITH?

• Penn State and those slow starts.

• McSorley finally being bitten by the interception bug. His late pick on this one set up USC’s game-winning field goal. 

• The Lions either handing the ball off to Barkley or taking deep shots late in the game. Don’t get us wrong, both have been good options all season. But USC clearly knew what was coming. It kept one safety deep to prevent the long ball and otherwise ganged up on the line of scrimmage. We’re wondering if PSU should have tried to work the middle of the field more then.

• DeAndre Thompkins, starting in place of the suspended Saeed Blacknall, being out of whack for most of the game. He had miscommunication with McSorley on the QB’s first pick (Thompkins cut the route short, the ball went long) and then had a ball bounce off his hands for McSorley’s second pick.

• Rookie Miles Sanders struggling again on kick returns. He just does not seem at all decisive back there.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE

• Penn State’s O-line allowed only one sack. This group is looking promising for the future.

DID YOU NOTICE?

• Penn State did not attempt a field goal. But…

• Tyler Davis replaced Joey Julius on kickoffs. No reason was given for that. But PSU’s kickoffs were a bit of an adventure.

• WR Brandon Polk was spotted warming up but did not play. He had been out of action since the third week of the season and Franklin said he intended to redshirt him. Polk did not play vs. USC, though.

UNANSWERED QUESTION 

Where will the Nittany Lions land in the final rankings?


Fight On State Top Stories

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PASADENA, Calif. — The odds makers set the over/under for Monday’s 103rd rendition of the Rose Bowl at 60 points. They were just slightly off.

\n

As it turned out, the game between No. 5 Penn State and No. 9 USC here became a matter of which team would score 50 points on its own first. Tied 49-49 with 1:20 to go, the Nittany Lions committed a huge turnover and the Trojans capitalized on it to eke out a 52-49 victory on the final play.

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“You know, we didn’t do enough,” an emotional PSU coach James Franklin said afterward. “We needed to score one more time, we needed to get one more stop, and we didn’t do that.”

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Here is our take on the highest scoring game in Rose Bowl history.

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MAN OF THE HOUR 

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Penn State RB Saquon Barkley had 25 carries for 194 yards and two TDs, five catches for 55 yards and a score, and two kickoff returns for 57 yards. That’s 306 all-purpose yards, if you’re keeping score at home. http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1742496-rose-bowl-psu-s-em...

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CLOSE SECOND 

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WR Chris Godwin set a PSU bowl record with nine catches for 187 yards and two scores. He has had at least 133 receiving yards in all three bowls he’s played in.

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CLOSE THIRD

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P Blake Gillikin averaged 50.8 yards on five boots, with a long of 65.

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TURNING POINT

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Penn State LB Brandon Bell came through with a huge interception in the third quarter, setting up QB Trace McSorley’s three-yard TD run that gave the Lions a 42-27 lead. BUT … Bell injured his right arm on the play and did not return. It is no coincidence that USC outscored Penn State 25-7 the rest of the way. The senior Bell was PSU’s best defensive player this year.

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SOLID STRATEGY

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USC coach Clay Helton allowed redshirt freshman Sam Darnold to air it out 53 times. He completed 33 for 453 yards, five TDs and only one pick. The Lions’ secondary had not faced a QB of this caliber all season long — he is accurate and just mobile enough to keep a defense honest.

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NUMBERS GAME

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• USC ran 88 plays but PSU only had one tackle for loss.

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• McSorley had an interception on each of Penn State’s first two possessions. He had two interceptions in the Lions’ final nine regular-season games.

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• The teams combined for 1,040 yards.

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• Penn State had 465 yards of total offense. Barkley (259) and Godwin (187) combined for 346 of them.

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• TE Mike Gesicki was held to one catch (albeit an 11-yard TD) and starting WR DaeSean Hamilton did not make a catch.

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WHAT'S UP WITH?

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• Penn State and those slow starts.

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• McSorley finally being bitten by the interception bug. His late pick on this one set up USC’s game-winning field goal. 

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• The Lions either handing the ball off to Barkley or taking deep shots late in the game. Don’t get us wrong, both have been good options all season. But USC clearly knew what was coming. It kept one safety deep to prevent the long ball and otherwise ganged up on the line of scrimmage. We’re wondering if PSU should have tried to work the middle of the field more then.

\n

• DeAndre Thompkins, starting in place of the suspended Saeed Blacknall, being out of whack for most of the game. He had miscommunication with McSorley on the QB’s first pick (Thompkins cut the route short, the ball went long) and then had a ball bounce off his hands for McSorley’s second pick.

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• Rookie Miles Sanders struggling again on kick returns. He just does not seem at all decisive back there.

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LOST IN THE SHUFFLE

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• Penn State’s O-line allowed only one sack. This group is looking promising for the future.

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DID YOU NOTICE?

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• Penn State did not attempt a field goal. But…

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• Tyler Davis replaced Joey Julius on kickoffs. No reason was given for that. But PSU’s kickoffs were a bit of an adventure.

\n

• WR Brandon Polk was spotted warming up but did not play. He had been out of action since the third week of the season and Franklin said he intended to redshirt him. Polk did not play vs. USC, though.

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UNANSWERED QUESTION 

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Where will the Nittany Lions land in the final rankings?

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","mobileBody":"

Follow @MarkXBrennan

PASADENA, Calif. — The odds makers set the over/under for Monday’s 103rd rendition of the Rose Bowl at 60 points. They were just slightly off.

As it turned out, the game between No. 5 Penn State and No. 9 USC here became a matter of which team would score 50 points on its own first. Tied 49-49 with 1:20 to go, the Nittany Lions committed a huge turnover and the Trojans capitalized on it to eke out a 52-49 victory on the final play.

“You know, we didn’t do enough,” an emotional PSU coach James Franklin said afterward. “We needed to score one more time, we needed to get one more stop, and we didn’t do that.”

Here is our take on the highest scoring game in Rose Bowl history.

MAN OF THE HOUR

Penn State RB Saquon Barkley had 25 carries for 194 yards and two TDs, five catches for 55 yards and a score, and two kickoff returns for 57 yards. That’s 306 all-purpose yards, if you’re keeping score at home. http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1742496-rose-bowl-psu-s-em...

CLOSE SECOND

WR Chris Godwin set a PSU bowl record with nine catches for 187 yards and two scores. He has had at least 133 receiving yards in all three bowls he’s played in.

CLOSE THIRD

P Blake Gillikin averaged 50.8 yards on five boots, with a long of 65.

TURNING POINT

Penn State LB Brandon Bell came through with a huge interception in the third quarter, setting up QB Trace McSorley’s three-yard TD run that gave the Lions a 42-27 lead. BUT … Bell injured his right arm on the play and did not return. It is no coincidence that USC outscored Penn State 25-7 the rest of the way. The senior Bell was PSU’s best defensive player this year.

SOLID STRATEGY

USC coach Clay Helton allowed redshirt freshman Sam Darnold to air it out 53 times. He completed 33 for 453 yards, five TDs and only one pick. The Lions’ secondary had not faced a QB of this caliber all season long — he is accurate and just mobile enough to keep a defense honest.

NUMBERS GAME

• USC ran 88 plays but PSU only had one tackle for loss.

• McSorley had an interception on each of Penn State’s first two possessions. He had two interceptions in the Lions’ final nine regular-season games.

• The teams combined for 1,040 yards.

• Penn State had 465 yards of total offense. Barkley (259) and Godwin (187) combined for 346 of them.

• TE Mike Gesicki was held to one catch (albeit an 11-yard TD) and starting WR DaeSean Hamilton did not make a catch.

WHAT'S UP WITH?

• Penn State and those slow starts.

• McSorley finally being bitten by the interception bug. His late pick on this one set up USC’s game-winning field goal.

• The Lions either handing the ball off to Barkley or taking deep shots late in the game. Don’t get us wrong, both have been good options all season. But USC clearly knew what was coming. It kept one safety deep to prevent the long ball and otherwise ganged up on the line of scrimmage. We’re wondering if PSU should have tried to work the middle of the field more then.

• DeAndre Thompkins, starting in place of the suspended Saeed Blacknall, being out of whack for most of the game. He had miscommunication with McSorley on the QB’s first pick (Thompkins cut the route short, the ball went long) and then had a ball bounce off his hands for McSorley’s second pick.

• Rookie Miles Sanders struggling again on kick returns. He just does not seem at all decisive back there.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE

• Penn State’s O-line allowed only one sack. This group is looking promising for the future.

DID YOU NOTICE?

• Penn State did not attempt a field goal. But…

• Tyler Davis replaced Joey Julius on kickoffs. No reason was given for that. But PSU’s kickoffs were a bit of an adventure.

• WR Brandon Polk was spotted warming up but did not play. He had been out of action since the third week of the season and Franklin said he intended to redshirt him. Polk did not play vs. USC, though.

UNANSWERED QUESTION

Where will the Nittany Lions land in the final rankings?

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