Penn State-USC: Why the Trojans Will Lose the Rose Bowl

Nelson GContributor IDecember 29, 2008

Penn State’s offense has been the talk of the town, creating a much needed hype coming into the Rose Bowl, especially with an amazing senior class of wide receivers, but to support this potent offense you need a controlling defense, something Penn State has.

Penn State has had a tradition of having a strong defense, and this year is no exception to it. This season, after losing Sean Lee in the spring, Penn State needed a linebacker to lead the defense, and they have a leader.

Navorro Bowman, a third year sophomore, has established himself as a strong linebacker, and I am looking forward in seeing him in the blue and white for two more seasons. Bowman will be a name you will hear often throughout the Rose Bowl.

Another name you will hear often is a player not even expected to be starting, but Mark Sanchez will be hearing footsteps behind him from number 59, Aaron Maybin. With 12 sacks so far this season and 19 tackles for loss, he will be seen often in the backfield.

Maybin, being a player not considered to be ready to start this season, proved his point. He may be on the small size when it comes to defensive linemen, but he has enough speed and strength to create havoc.

The players who would need to step though and contain this very deep USC offense will be the players lined up in the box. USC is known for its plethora of running backs, and if a defense allows a gap to even see a little bit of light, they will exploit it.

Penn State must also beware Mark Sanchez’s really powerful arm. Penn State hasn’t been very dominant with its secondary, but they are hard hitting. They will need to make sure that Sanchez has no one to throw to, allowing the defensive line and linebackers to get Sanchez to the ground.

For Penn State to win this game and prevent this very powerful offense from scoring, the defense needs constant pressure and must show no weakness. Penn State will have to make sure that every player is on the same page and have no miscommunication.

This game will be very loud, being that it's only a 30 or so minute drive from USC to the Rose Bowl. This will be an away game, similar to the Nittany Lions' game in the Horseshoe. It will be a low scoring game, but I believe Penn State will win.

However, it will be a game where Joe Pa and company will be a little jittery, and watch Tom Bradley make his case as Joe Pa’s replacement after the face of the Penn State Nittany Lions does retire.