Rose Bowl 2009: USC maxes out Penn State

The ninety-fifth Rose Bowl game. Penn State Nittany Lions and USC Trojans. Would the Big 10 or Pac 10 get the last fragrant laugh? Broadcast on ABC, the Trojans marching band performed the national anthem before the game proper began. The first quarter ticked halfway through when USC quarterback Mark Sanchez fumbled the ball (never even threw it out of his hands) and Penn State recovered. Or did they? An offside penalty on Penn State gave the ball back to USC. A few plays later, Sanchez threw twenty-seven yards to wide receiver Damian Williams for a touchdown. USC 7 and Penn State 0. That catch came out of nowhere…in that one second USC’s QB was prepped to launch the ball and the next nanosecond, TD. With fewer than ten seconds left in the quarter, Penn Statequarterback Daryll Clark got himself into the end zone for a TD. Both teams 7.

The second quarter spritzed off with a Trojans TD, shoved in by the quarterback. USC 14 and Penn State 7. A Trojans field goal put USC higher up with 17 to 7 halfway through the quarter. USC’s lead shot up to 24 to 7 (thanks to wide receiver Ronald Johnson’s TD). Penn State’s running back Stephfon Green had a good chance of making great strides down field on his team’s next possession, but he fumbled and USC recovered. Trojans running back CJ Gable increased his team’s numbers by a TD in the bottom of the quarter. USC 31 and Penn State 7.

The third quarter spelled out CJ Gable fumbling the ball and Penn State cornerback Tony Davis getting his hands on it. No scoring resulted from that turnover. In the final forty or so seconds of the third quarter, Penn State wide receiver Jordan Norwood had caught Daryll Clark’s pass and then was immediately slammed by USC safety Taylor Mays. Norwood had to be helped off the field, noticeably discombobulated–his eyes looked like they were pinging all over place. Mays got a helmet-to-helmet penalty. Slow-motion instant replay revealed that Norwood’s head was essentially squashed by two Trojans torsos in the tackle.

The fourth quarter harked the herald with a TD for the Nittany Lions, courtesy of wide receiver Derrick Williams. Trojans wide receiver Ronald Johnson made his second TD of the day with a forty-five yard catch on his team’s next possession. USC 38 and Penn State 14. Halfway through the fourth quarter, Penn State’s numbers rose by three with a field goal, and then by seven in the bottom of the quarter (thanks to Jordan Norwood). USC 38 and Penn State 24. Final score. The Trojans have won the Rose noodle Bowl for the third time in a row.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit were the commentators.

2. Save for Trojans quarterback Mark Sanchez, the USC football players don’t get much news reading done. Who is Joe Biden, TMZ asked recently. Question: How many players in total were asked, “Who is Joe Biden?” and of those players, how many got it right and weren’t included in the final sequence that hit the air?

3. Steve Shaw, of the SEC, was the referee. The Grand Marshal of the 2009 Tournament of the Roses was Cloris Leachman. She threw the coin. USC won the toss and deferred to second half. Cloris Leachman looks like Glenn Close a wee bit.

4. The Trojans’ uniforms made me think of barbecue sauce, mustard, and sloppy joes.

5. As neither a Trojans nor Nittany Lion fan, viewing consisted of soaking up game-play athleticism. Point. Counter-point. Check. Checkmate.

6. Actor John C. McGinley was in attendance. He had a full head of hair and a green shirt.

7. The Trojans marching band hit the field during halftime.

8. Did Brent Musburger say in the bottom of the fourth quarter that the QB plays a more important role in college football than in pro football?

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

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