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5 Thoughts - 2009 Rose Bowl
USC RB C.J. Gable
USC RB C.J. Gable
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 1, 2009


USC beats Penn State 38-24 ... 5 Thoughts on the 2009 Rose Bowl

2009 Rose Bowl

USC 38 ... Penn State 24


GAME RECAP: USC comes up with a stunning blowout
- Fiu's Quarter-by-Quarter, Play-by-Play Game Notes
- 2009 CFN Rose Bowl Preview
-
2009 Rose Bowl Player Profiles, Histories, & More

1. It's yet another year with the same old complaint coming from the same old people. Yes, USC, with time to prepare, dominates Rose Bowls. Dominates. But there’s a reason the team, Pete Carroll, and the media all whine after New Year’s Day about a playoff and how USC would do in one. However, the Trojans simply don’t get the job done when it matters throughout the season. If this team is so good and so loaded with NFL talent, then it should go unbeaten. Don’t give this garbage about it being so hard to get through the Pac 10; USC is better than everyone by ten miles, and it doesn’t play like it unless the spotlight is on. Don’t lose to Stanford. Don’t lose to Oregon State. Be better against Arizona and other mediocre Pac 10 teams. Remember, there were reasons USC wasn’t in the national title mix. The Pac 10, as good as it’s been this bowl season, stunk in non-conference play this year (just ask the Mountain West), half the conference was a joke, and USC’s offense was merely average for long, bizarre stretches. But margin of victory doesn’t really matter. USC, just win, baby. Don’t underachieve in that one game a year you gag away and you’ll be in the national title. No one, not Oklahoma, not Florida, no one will ever bump an unbeaten USC out of the BCS Championship Game. It’s USC’s own fault it isn’t getting the shot at the national title, and it’s the only team that doesn’t need a playoff. - Pete Fiutak

2. With good reason, everyone uses the numbers to underscore the greatness of the USC defense, but I prefer a measure that’ll never show up in the final stats—punishment. There isn’t a defense in the country that administers more of it. When you watch the Trojans play, the one thing that stands out is how hard they hit and how well they wrap up on every play. Taylor Mays, Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing. From top to bottom, they all deliver pain, which makes opposing receivers think twice about going over the middle and opposing quarterbacks antsy in the pocket. There were at least a dozen times in the Rose Bowl when one of the Penn State players got up slowly after getting walloped by a Trojan defender. By the second half, that sort of stuff has a knack of accumulating and leaving a lasting impact. - Richard Cirminiello

3.
I have no idea where Mark Sanchez will be this time next year. Maybe he’s back at Troy or maybe he’s in one of the 32 NFL cities. I just know that wherever he’s taking snaps, he’s going to be successful. He is the real deal at quarterback. More than at any point in the season, Sanchez looked like a future first-round draft choice, carving up a talented Penn State defense for more than 400 yards and four touchdowns through the air. He throws with accuracy and has few peers in terms of arm strength. In time, he has a chance to be every bit as good as the pre-knee injury Carson Palmer, especially if he spends another season honing his skills in the Pac-10. - Richard Cirminiello

4. For the losing quarterback in a decisive ballgame, Penn State's Daryll Clark played exceptionally well. Everyone will easily remember USC's dominance in the shadows of the San Gabriel Mountains, but it's important to note that Clark also covered himself in glory. It would be a disservice not to mention how Clark repeatedly delivered accurate passes under heavy pressure from SC's defense. Whether he was running from a freakishly fast defensive lineman, or staring down a safety on a blitz from the edges, Clark didn't flinch.
 
It was particularly impressive to see SC's well-schooled safeties and linebackers ignore play action fakes, and rush Clark from the boundary in such a way that the Penn State signal caller had very little time--just a fraction of a second--in which to make both a decision and a throw. Yet, despite the ability of SC pass rushers to stay home and not bite on play fakes, Clark still beat them anyway, time and again.
 
Even in the fourth quarter, with his team down by 24 points, Clark was still running away from a furious pass rush and throwing strikes.
 
Laud USC lavishly, of course. Just don't forget to remember how well Clark played when this Rose Bowl is fully analyzed and assessed for the historical record. - Matthew Zemek

5. If this was the last hurrah for Penn State, and the last really big stage for Joe Paterno, this isn’t a nice legacy to leave. The Penn State coaches got destroyed by the USC coaching staff, and now, with all the top receivers, three key offensive linemen, and most of the secondary gone, there will be just enough losses to make next year a bit of a rebuilding one. There’s plenty of talent returning, but Penn State usually retools for a year or two and then comes up with its one really big season. The team might have shown heart in the comeback attempt, it didn’t quit, but it’s not like the program will have a better team than this over the next three years, and it’s not like USC is going to get worse. Now, Paterno has to stick around to go out on a better note than this. - Pete Fiutak