Trojans Roll, 38-24

USC quarterback Mark Sanchez insisted that he had the time of his life, leading the Trojans to a convincing 38-24 victory and winning the offensive player of the game award in the process. Look inside for the details.

So much for all the talk that USC would be bored playing in their fourth straight Rose Bowl.

The boys in cardinal and gold sure looked to be enjoying themselves on the sidelines as one Mark Sanchez pass after another found it's way over, around, and past the Penn State defense and into the hands of USC's playmaking wide receivers.

"It was a great opportunity for us to have this big-time matchup against Penn State and get a win," Pete Carroll said. "I'm thrilled about it."

Quarterback Mark Sanchez insisted that he had the time of his life, leading the Trojans to a convincing 38-24 victory and winning the offensive player of the game award in the process.

His 413 passing yards are the second-highest total in Rose Bowl history and four touchdowns passes tied the game record.

The junior quarterback got the Trojans started with a 27-yard touchdown strike to Damian Williams in the first quarter.

"I think the numbers speaks for themselves," Williams said of Sanchez. "Mark threw for four touchdowns.

"Today he proved why he is one of the best quarterbacks in the country."

Pete Carroll certainly agreed with Williams' evaluation, adding: "He had as a big a night as ever. He played the same kind of football that Carson (Palmer), (John David) Booty and (Matt) Leinart played."

As has been the case for much of the season, Williams was the Trojans' top receiver pulling in career-high 10 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown.

The Trojans exploded in the second quarter, putting up 24 unanswered points, a total that matched the most points Penn State has allowed in any game this season.

The re-emergence of USC's deep passing game kept the Nittany Lions on their heels all game.

"I don't think we played particularly well in the secondary, but I think there again, you got to give the other guys some credit," Joe Paterno said. "I thought the Southern Cal quarterback played a great football game."

Ronald Johnson was on the receiving end of a 45-yard bomb from Sanchez. The speedy sophomore finished the game with four receptions for 82 yards and two touchdowns.

Tailback C.J. Gable added a 20-yard touchdown reception.

"These guys had a ball playing," Pete Carroll said. "They played with great energy, effort, enthusiasm and love for this opportunity."

The Trojans spectacular performance in front of a national audience proved that they just may be the best team in college football.

"I don't think anybody can beat us," Carroll said after the Trojans' 38-24 victory. "I think we can beat anybody that we play."

That certainly looked to be the case on Thursday, as the Trojans' celebrated the New Year with a convincing 38-24 victory.

"It is a very happy New Year for this team, the coaches, fans and everybody that's a part of USC football," Sanchez said.

With the win USC becomes the first school to win three consecutive Rose Bowls and ties Alabama for the most bowl wins with 31.


Kaluka Maiava, Mark Sanchez and Damian Williams celebrate USC's 38-24 victory.
(Getty Images/Harry How)

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at kevin@scplaybook.com


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