‘Granddaddy of Them All’ Lives Up to Its Name

USC beat Penn State in the final play of the Rose Bowl.


USC beat Penn State in the final play of the Rose Bowl.

The Granddaddy of Them All, the Rose Bowl. To get there, it takes having one of the best seasons imaginable in college football. But for both Penn State and USC,  the ride to Pasadena came with adversity — making this year’s game all the more exciting.

Penn State had suffered a tough defeat to Pittsburgh and a blowout to Michigan, but found a way to a Big Ten Championship that no one could have predicted. And USC started the year with a dreadful 1-3 record, having to put in their freshman quarterback Sam Darnold, who would lead them on an eight game win streak to the Rose Bowl.

The start of the game could not have been any worse for State. The Lions’ QB Trace McSorley had his first two passes intercepted, and USC got themselves off to a 13-point lead in the first quarter.

The second quarter faired much better for Penn State, who found their way into the game with inspired offensive performances, pulling back to one score. But there was still something missing on the other side of the ball. The Trojans kept marching down the field and holding their lead.

But this was a common sight all season for the Lions, having previously made comebacks against the likes of Wisconsin and Ohio State. And it was going to take another massive effort to pull ahead in the game.

They Didn’t Miss A Beat.

The Nittany Lions came out as if they were on a mission from God, scoring three touchdowns within the first five minutes of the second half. Running Back Saquon Barkley opens the half with a 79-yard touchdown run. Then Chris Godwin finds the endzone with a 72-yard catch, ten of those yards the ball was bobbling on his fingertips. The Lions would then intercept Darnold and drive in another touchdown score to take a 42-27 lead.

After a Trojans touchdown and a State touchdown, the Lions went into the fourth quarter with rose colored glasses and a two-score lead.

But Then Came Sam Darnold.

Sam Darnold, the freshman quarterback, dominated the fourth quarter, and led the Trojans back to a 49 – 49 tie. The Lions then had the ball with a chance at a game-winning drive, but a McSorley pass found itself in the wrong hands and was returned into field goal range.

With six seconds left on the clock, USC kicker Matt Boermeester would attempt a game-winning 46-yard field goal. All the Nittany Lions players and all the Trojans were lined up, preparing to either leave the field, or take this game into overtime.

He Drilled It.

The Trojans celebrated their incredible win and the Nittany Lions suffered a heartbreaking loss. The Lions fell to 11-3 on the year, and the Trojans improved to finished the season 10-3.

The Grandaddy of Them All lived up to its name, with one of the most exciting Rose Bowls in sports history.