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2008 Rose Bowl – Southern California Decimates Penn State For 3rd Consecutive Rose Bowl Win, 38-24
After winning a record 383 football games and 23 bowling games, Penn State coach Joe Paterno sat quietly in the press box nursing his hip issues. A camera caught him slowly shaking his head as Southern California went up 31-7 over their Nittany Lions in the BCS Rose Bowl New Year’s Day (1-1-09).
Nobody had to tell the 82-year-old coaching legend and Pennsylvania icon that it wasn’t Happy Valley. The final score of 38-24 belied what really happened – No. No. 5-ranked USC convincingly decimated a proud and successful No. 6-ranked Penn State team that entered the BCS Rose Bowl with a Big Ten title and an 11-1 record.
And that’s why, more than any other reason, the 83-year-old Penn State coach will be on the sidelines next season, God willing and the creek doesn’t rise. JoePa lives to compete. The excitement of Saturday afternoon and the feeling of fall wake him up in the morning and put him to sleep at night.
Does Joe Paterno think USC is as good as any other team in the country? Only a nascent homer or a fool would say no.
So it needs to be said loud and clear right now: Pete Carroll’s University of California Trojans have . . .
1) Won a record 7 consecutive Pac-10 championships.
2) Played in 7 consecutive BCS Bowl Games, a record.
3) Won 3 consecutive Rose Bowl Games, a record.
4) Won 11 or more games for 7 consecutive seasons, a record.
5) Won 6 of 7 big games, going 5-0 against Big Ten teams such as Penn State.
6) Won 82 games and lost only 9 since Carroll’s 2nd year career.
Have they wiped the waters with Penn State? Yes. They scored 31 points on 5 consecutive possessions in the 1st half, the most goals for USC in any of its record 33 Rose Bowl games. The Trojans racked up 27 first downs and 474 yards of attack.
Junior quarterback Mark Sanchez completed 28 of 35 for 413 yards and 4 touchdowns and ran for a 5th touchdown. And guess what? He’s thinking of making the NFL Draft rather than returning for his senior year; this is hardly a surprise.
Damian Williams caught a career-high 10 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown. Ronald Johnson caught 2 TD passes. Kaluka Maiava was the best defensive player, becoming the 3rd straight USC linebacker to win the award.
In their 3rd game this year, USC traveled to Oregon State and lost 27-21. Then the Trojans went on 10 straight wins, beating their opponents 380-80 with the nation’s No.1 defense. The Trojans play like a national championship team, but they are not national champions this year. Maybe next year.
Copyright © 2009 Ed Bagley
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