USC is making a habit of making opposing offenses feel inferior to them, and the Spread HD of Penn State was the Trojans' latest victim.
Though they did mount a prideful second half comeback, the Nittany Lions (11-2) were no match for Mark Sanchez and Co., as the Men of Troy won their NCAA record 24th Rose Bowl, 38-24. Sanchez, named MVP, threw for a school bowl record 413 yards and four touchdowns.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno had been spending most of the season in the press box while recovering from hip surgery and on multiple occasions could be seen shaking his head at the performance of his team as they went to the locker room at halftime down, 31-7.
Penn State certainly did not help itself early on in the game as huge, costly penalties negated big run and pass plays that might have changed the tempo of the game.
Out of the national championship mix, the No. 5 Trojans (12-1) can only wonder what might have been had they not lost at Oregon State, 27-21, on Sept. 25. Their latest Rose Bowl rout has sent a message to the Associated Press that they should be considered for a second split national championship, the first back in 2003 when they defeated Michigan in the Rose Bowl to cap off a then-undefeated season.
Many did not consider the Pac-10 to be a strong conference this season and the Oregon State loss, combined with no conference championship game, ultimately kept USC from the title game in Miami, even though the conference finished the postseason at a perfect 5-0.
USC scored four touchdowns and a field goal on consecutive first-half possessions for a 31-7 halftime lead against a team that allowed only 12.4 points per game during the regular season.
In their last nine games against the Big Ten, USC has thoroughly dominated, going 9-0 and allowing only 13 points a game while scoring about 37. Oh and of those nine wins, all are by 10 points or more.
Not to be outdone, Damian Williams caught 10 passes for 162 yards and a score while tight end Ronald Johnson caught two touchdowns. Sanchez was 20-of-25 for 276 yards by halftime and finished 28-of-35.
Though Penn State did score 17 points in the second half to make the outcome respectable, it only delayed the inevitable. Nittany Lions quarterback Daryll Clark finished with 273 yards and two touchdowns.
USC finished with 27 first downs and 474 yards of total offense. Penn State gained 410 yards, almost twice the average the Trojans allowed during the regular season, but it hardly mattered.
Another loss for a major Big Ten program in a BCS bowl will only fuel the fire from detractors about the quality of competition and how they are unable to hang with the speed and scheme versatility of pro-style offenses.
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