Redshirt junior placekicker Matt Boermeester tied a Rose Bowl record by making three field goals, but most USC fans won't even remember the first two.
It will be the 46-yard game-winning shot as time expired that people will be talking about for decades.
"Wow, what a game," Boermeester told a large contingent of reporters in the Rose Bowl locker room after the game. "Talk about ups and downs. Zach Smith and Wyatt Schmidt, the snapper and holder, it's not just me, it takes all three of us for it to get done."
Boermeester, who isn't accustomed to having a dozen microphones pointing at him, was laughing as he mentioned his teammates, mostly because they were standing behind the reporters making faces and poking fun at the left footed kicker as he answered questions.
"I really tried to make sure the game wasn't too big," Boermeester continued. "I've been in that stadium before, we played UCLA a month ago or whenever it was. I've been in that stadium and I approached that kick like any other kick. Obviously the game was on the line, but you've got to trust your technique, that is all kicking is is technique. Coach [John] Baxter, he's the one who made sure, he whispered in my ear right before that kick to stay true to my technique.
"Credit the whole team. They are the ones that gave me the opportunity. I'm glad I got to kick that game winner, it validates our season. We are a family and we are now even tighter because of it."
When asked about his inspiration, Boermeester didn't hesitate.
"It's gotta be my dad, Pete." Matt said. "He's the one who got me into it. I wouldn't be here without him. He got me my start, the first ball we put down in La Jolla, California was with my dad."
Peter Boermeester was a kicker for UCLA from 1977 to 1979 and he still ranks as No. 10 all-time for the Bruins in field goals made. Having his dad there in the Rose Bowl to see his game winner was important to Matt.
"It means a lot," he said. "I came here as a kid watching games in the Rose Bowl, obviously as a UCLA fan. But the transfusion has definitely been complete the last year or so, he's wearing USC gear.
"It's a special thing. It's something I'll never forget."
Son Matt says the most important thing he learned from his father was what you do above the shoulder pads.
"The mental stuff. Once you have the technique down it's all mental," Matt said. "My dad's coached me up as a kid in every single sport, it doesn't matter what it is, it's the mental aspect of handling pressure situations."
Besides the game being on the line, Boermeester had the extra challenge dealing with a sudden change opportunity following safety Leon McQuay's interception.
"As a kicker, you want that chance to win a game," he said. "You don't want to be scared of that opportunity. I thought about it and I guess I really thought I could get it. So I replayed it my mind and once we got the interception I knew I was going to kick it. It was like I had already been there, I had already seen it in my head. I had to stay calm and stay true."
True it was, and Boermeester knew it.
"Right after I kicked it I knew it was going in," he said.
On the final drive USC had no time outs left so the field goal team was rushed onto the field after Sam Darnold clocked the ball. Penn State head coach James Franklin decided to call a timeout to "ice" Boermeester.
"It definitely helped," he said about Franklin calling the timeout. "That's only beneficial, I think [icing the kicker] is sort of a myth. It gives every kicker a chance to see it a little longer. I had made a couple of mistakes in this game with a couple missed field goals and I think that helped me to, to make sure I didn't do that again."
42 seconds of game time earlier when Deontay Burnett caught a touchdown pass from Darnold to pull the Trojans within a point, Boermeester kicked that PAT to tie the game. Immediately his mind switched over from a game tying kick to a game winning one.
"I planned this in my mind last night, so I kind of knew how it was going to go. As a kicker you dream of something like that," he said. "If anything I am rooting for that. I am hoping it's coming."
Then when McQuay picked off that pass and returned it into Penn State territory, Boermeester knew it was on.
"I knew it was ready, I knew it was going to be me," he said. "I was right there on the sideline, right where he went out. I knew I was going to kick."
USC got the ball on the Penn State 33 yard line with 27 seconds left. Instead of trying to run a couple of plays to gain yards, the Trojans ran once up the middle before clocking the ball and putting the game in Boermeester's hands.
"I knew they were just going to try and get me a couple more [yards] and position the ball on the left hash or so."
Ronald Jones ran for five yards, setting up Boermeester at the 28 yard line.
His 46-yard kick started out head on the left upright but it had some good hooking action. By the time the ball passed through the uprights it was nearly dead center and the Trojans historic comeback victory was in the books.
Special teams coach John Baxter kept it short and sweet for Boermeester, telling the kicker, "Way to go."
Boermeester said the only downside to the kick was he wasn't able to keep the ball and he has no idea who has it.
"I'm upset about that. I want that ball. Someone can help me."
Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more stories from this historic Rose Bowl victory.
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