Stream of Consciousness Notes
Bowl - USC vs. Penn State
Welcome again to my pretentious, goofy and self-serving
stream-of-consciousness thoughts and notes on the big games, the
broadcasts, the ads and the teams for the attention deficit disordered. E-mail
me with your own thoughts and notes and what you'd like to see.
- Aw great. The
pregame show's opening moments sucked. John Saunders: "The one thing we
know for sure to start the season is that we'll have a traditional Big
Ten - Pac 10 matchup, and it's going to be great." First of all, no, we
don't know that. The last two years haven't had a "traditional" matchup,
since the Big 10 champs were off playing in the national title game.
Second, there's no guarantee that the Rose Bowl doesn't take a team from
another conference if the Pac 10 or Big 10 play for the national title.
Third, this game usually sucks. The Big 10 has been rocked by USC and
there's no guarantee that this game will be any good. C'mon, John. This
was your first statement and you're that loose?
- Did anyone else see the filler-time Todd Blackledge plus-one proposal
at the end of the Capital One Bowl? Five BCS games, 10 teams, take the
top two according to a BCS system after that. Todd, spend more time on
your theories than thinking about what omelet to eat next. According
this bizarre idea, let’s say USC blows out Penn State, Oklahoma wins its
bowl in a blowout, and Florida wins its game in a blowout. Now what? Ten
teams and a plus one?! To paraphrase Napoleon Dynamite, this is pretty
much the worst playoff idea I’ve ever heard.
- Nice going NHL. Detroit beat Chicago 6-4 in Wrigley. Did anyone know
this game was on? Everyone would’ve watched this on Christmas Day. It
would be the sporting event of the day, but who watched this that
normally wouldn’t have been watching a NHL game anyway?
- Another Saunders misfire: “And it’s a final. Nebraska wins the Gator
Bowl, 26 to 21.” Dewey defeats Truman? There’s still four minutes to
play and Clemson is marching in a terrific game. You know some producer
was in Saunders’ ear screaming “they’re going to change the channel …
- Pete Carroll: “Those who think we don’t want to be (in the Rose Bowl)
and don’t want to be there don’t understand.” They’re called your fans,
Pete. Explain it to them and the rest of us why you’d be the slightest
bit pleased, with this team you’ve put together, to not be in the
national championship. You’re happy with being in Pasadena over Miami?
No you’re not. No … you’re not.
- Kirk, Todd, and all the other announcers … quit apologizing for the
BCS sucking. You can still have the Big Ten – Pac 10 Rose Bowl and
have a playoff.
on its own 26
Derrick Williams needs to come up with a big return at some point in the
game. USC isn’t going to give him much of a shot to break one.
- That’s a statement on the first play. Penn State is going to want to
pound the ball with its offensive line, and on the opening snap, it goes
wide on a pitch to Williams for three yards. That’s Penn State saying
“we’re not afraid of your speed.”
- Daryll Clark has to be better than that when he gets time. His O line
gave him all day, he locked on to one receiver, and he threw it into the
- Pass attempt two: Clark had time, he thought he didn’t, danced in the
pocket, and forced a throw that should’ve been picked off. Three and out
and Penn State didn’t try to pound the ball once.
USC on its own 27
- Everyone’s gushing over the USC speed and defense, but Navarro
Bowman and this Penn State defense is every bit as good. USC has to do
something on this first drive to show that its offense isn’t just along
for the ride like it’s been all season.
- USC goes wide on its first two plays. Neither team goes with the power
game on the opening drive, but so far, the Penn State D line has been
Penn State on its own 12
- And there’s the Penn State offense. Shove USC DT Fili Moala
out of the way, use the power to create the crease, and get Evan Royster
- USC is challenging Clark by bringing everyone up. Fine, Penn State,
you want to power the ball, you’re going to have to bust through a
second level that doesn’t believe you can throw.
- 4th and 1 from the 38 … Not even a thought about going for
USC on its own 13
- And USC follows suit with the power game. C.J. Gable rumbles
for a decent gain. He has to show he can hang on to the ball, and Penn
State will be going after it whenever he has the ball.
- Penn State looks fast. They’re swarming all over the USC
offense on wide plays.
- NICE block from tight end Rhett Ellison to come up with the block for
the first down.
- The Trojans aren’t letting Mark Sanchez make any tough throws early
on. USC is keeping it close to the vest. It’s like they’re trying to
prove a point with the running game.
- And it’s working. Another USC first down on the ground.
- Whooooooo. Again, Penn State is really, really fast. Aaron Maybin blew
past Charles Brown for a sack of Sanchez and forced a fumble, but got
nailed for lining up offsides. That’s not why he got to Sanchez, but it
cost Penn State the ball.
- Sanchez came out throwing on the next play and got rid of the ball in
a big hurry even though he didn’t have to.
- USC is having success up the middle. The holes aren’t opening up wide,
but the yards are there in mini-chunks.
- Five minutes left in the first quarter and Penn State isn’t getting
blown out. And there was much rejoicing.
- Patrick Turner isn’t going to do anything deep on this Nittany Lion
secondary. He’s not good enough.
- Sanchez connects on a nice dart on a quick three step drop then fire.
USC needs to speed up the game a little bit. There’s no tempo to the
- Very, very nice run by Stafon Johnson for a first down. He bounced the
ball to the outside well, let the offensive line collapse the Penn State
left side, and got a 15-yard run.
- Sanchez throws a strike to Damian Williams for a touchdown. Uh oh.
Five minutes left in the quarter and Penn State fine. 4:12 left and USC
is up. That was too easy against a Penn State secondary that didn’t give
up a thing all year long. The Nittany Lions had better answer on this
drive or this could be the typical USC-Big Ten game in a hurry.
USC 7 … Penn State 0
Penn State on its own 20
- Clark has to get involved in a hurry. He has to show that he
can complete a few throws and he has to get his tremendous receiving
- Third and two on a drive without a running play.
- No, no, no. The option worked for the first down, but USC will destroy
the PSU attack if the plays keep going to the outside.
- Where are the great USC linebackers? Rey Maualuga hasn’t been a part
of the show yet.
- Both teams are starting to mix it up a bit. Clark made a great throw
with Taylor Mays about to deliver the boom. Williams makes a better play
taking the pas for the first down.
- Deon Butler makes a tremendous catch and a better run, but Penn State
will get flagged for holding …
- … yup. That’s the second huge play of the game against the Nittany
Lions on a dumb, dumb penalty. Lining up offsides on Maybin was
the first, and Butler got nailed for an illegal shift. It might be 14-0
Penn State right now without those two plays.
- USC might end up winning this game, but it’s an important to keep
making to try to eliminate the stereotypes: Penn State is every bit as
fast as USC.
- Clark is getting ten days to throw. He’s not looking off his receivers
like Sanchez did on the USC scoring drive, but he stepped up in the
pocket and delivered a perfect pass to make it first and goal.
- The Penn State coaches just came up with a drive for the ages. Clark
obviously made it all happen, finishing it off with a nine-yard
quarterback draw for a score, but in one big drive, the Nittany Lions
took the ball and on this supposedly impenetrable USC D and it 1) ran
with power, 2) made plays with speed, and 3) might have stripped away
the thoughts of invincibility. Then again, there are four seconds left
in the first quarter. It’s not like USC is going to panic.
- PSU LG Rich Ohrnberger was amazing on that drive.
Penn State 7 … USC 7
USC on its own 20
- End of the first quarter …
First Quarter Score: Penn State 7 … USC 7
- USC isn’t
afraid to push the ball deep. It has now become obvious that Sanchez has
found his groove and is going to trust his receivers.
- Great play by Sanchez. Everything was falling down around him and he
still made a big throw to tight end Anthony McCoy.
- Penn State is getting the pressure on Sanchez, but Sanchez is still
making the plays.
- Joe McKnight is out with what seems to be a turf toe problem.
- Third down …
- … anything you can do … Sanchez looks Clark-like in a QB draw for a
- Those were two very, very easy scoring drives.
USC 14 … Penn State 7
Penn State on its own 20
- Evan Royster is being looked at on the sidelines. Apparently
he has a knee sprain, but he’s expected to be back and very, very
- It’s the Stephfon Green show now. That might not be a bad thing; he’s
very Jacquizz Rodgers-like.
- There’s the USC D. Kyle Moore holds off Ohrnberger and knocks down
Green on third and one. USC forces a three and out, but Penn State got a
huge break on Stefon Johnson falling down on punt return.
USC on its own 13
- Keep Sanchez chucking. After the last two drives, he has to
keep pushing it deep.
- How many head coaches have USC had since Joe Paterno been the head
coach at Penn State? I’ll guess six, but that’s a total guess.
- Penn State makes its third moronic penalty of the game. Anthony
Scirrotto makes a late hit out of bounds and now USC is out of trouble.
- Penn State needs to do something positive on D. It’s been almost a
full quarter since the defense came up with a stop on any play.
- First USC drive: Nine yards. 161 yards and 2 touchdowns on the next
- Someone on the Penn State D line has to touch Sanchez.
- Damien Williams took away Lydell Sargent’s jock on a deep route for a
35-yard catch. That was an NFL throw from Sanchez.
- Joe McKnight is out for the game.
- The field must be having problems. It seems like everyone is slipping.
- The big USC receivers are starting to give the short Penn State
- 7:30 to play in the first half Penn State holds USC to a field goal.
- David Buehler hits the 30-yarder.
USC 17 … Penn State 7
- Remember, that drive started at the 13.
- Six. That’s the answer to the AFLAC trivia question.
Penn State on its own 7
- Another Penn State penalty. A block in the back puts the
Nittany Lions into a hole it needs to blast its way out of.
- Big help for PSU. USC’s Cary Harris holds Deon Butler and now PSU is
on its 17.
- With Royster out, Penn State appears to be afraid to run up the gut.
This is 100% Clark at the moment.
- Third and short. This might be the ball game. If USC stuffs this 3rd
and 2 and gets the ball back, it’ll score by the end of the first half
and this won’t be pretty.
- Clark didn’t feel the pocket and he didn’t sense Brian Cushing
slipping by Ohrnberger for the sack.
USC on its own 33
- USC is so good at capitalizing on positive momentum. This is
when the offense could put in the dagger.
- A 24-7 USC lead would mean it’s time for a nap.
- The USC offensive front isn’t dominating, but it’s playing the Penn
State defensive front to a draw. Penn State needs to come up with a big
play, a turnover, a sack, something to change the momentum.
- Penn State is really fast, but USC’s timing is perfect. Perfect.
- ANOTHER Penn State penalty. That’s five so far in the first half.
- Navarro Bowman worked his way to a huge sack. Sanchez appeared to be
too comfortable, and Penn State has to change that with one more sack to
force more hurries.
- The Penn State corners are having a miserable first half. They have
yet to show up.
- 1:49 to play. Penn State is better than this, but USC makes everyone
- Patrick Turner had the ball in his hands and he should’ve come up with
the big catch, but he got it knocked away.
- Penn State got the pressure on the blitz, but Sanchez never took his
eyes off the play, hit Williams on the move, and the Penn State
secondary got pantsed once again.
- Sanchez doesn’t get touched, steps into his throw, and he throws yet
another perfect touchdown pass against a pass defense that gave up six
scores on the year. Anthony Scirrotto is too experienced to not be
reading things better. Ronald Johnson made the grab, and now it’s over.
- Well, this was fun. Thanks for playing, Penn State.
USC 24 … Penn State 7
Penn State on its own 20
- This is the time when USC usually drops the hammer. This is
when the opposing team presses, makes a mistake, and USC’s D makes the
big play to screw things …
- As I type that, Stephfon Green tore off a huge, huge play, only to
blow it by fumbling it away. Cary Harris just punched it out. It wasn’t
even anything special.
USC on its own 40
- 1:12 to play.
- Kirk and Brent are puffing up the Pac 10 conference after going 4-0 in
bowls so far before this one. There’s a reason everyone dogged the
league; it got rocked by the Mountain West.
- What’s the time of possession? Penn State hasn’t seen the ball at all
this second quarter.
- :55 to play. Penn State has to find something defensively that works
for just one big play. It’s 3rd and 1.
- Kirk and Brent are in blowout mode.
- First down. USC is about 25 yards away from field goal range.
- And there it is. ANOTHER bad play from the Penn State corners, giving
Williams too much room, then comes the face mask, and it’s going to be
31-7 at halftime.
- :43 and USC is on the 20.
- Nothing’s working for Penn State. They brought the blitz, USC’s
coaches were 19 steps ahead of the Penn State coaches, Sanchez drops the
ball off for Gable, and it’s 31-7.
- Anyone have that Detroit – Chicago hockey game on DVR anywhere?
Penn State on its own 16
- Take a knee. Get out as is because you’re not going to get
points on this drive.
- Oooooooh. It was just out of the reach for a pick six.
- No. Stop it, Brent. If the AP chooses USC the national champion, it
doesn’t matter. IT … DOESN’T …MATTER. If you’re not winning a game in
Miami on January 8th, you’re not the national champion.
- Seven penalties on Penn State. Eight seconds to go … TAKE A KNEE. Get
- Well, that sucked. Thanks, Penn State.
Halftime Score: USC 31 … Penn State 7
Third Quarter Score
USC on its own 20
Step one here for Penn State to make this interesting; come
up with a three and out. Step two, take chances on being beaten deep.
This zone D isn’t working; there can’t be so much of a cushion allowed.
- USC comes out winging, keeping it short.
- Third and one and Penn State brings up the corners, but USC gets the
first down up the middle.
- Kirk is wrong on this: Sanchez hasn’t had time. He’s had a little
time, but he’s been getting hit, for the most part.
- Paterno didn’t get down to the locker room but he did send a message:
Play Penn State football. Ooooooh. Now that’s coaching. Like the team
perked up and collectively said, “yeah, that’s right,” and now the team
will start playing well.
- Sanchez is a late second round draft pick.
- Finally, there’s a play. The Penn State coaches finally guess right
and Josh Hull made a big stop to make it third and 15.
- Sanchez makes the play on the roll out, Penn State gives too much of a
cushion, and it’s close. Really close.
- Fourth and one on the Penn State side of the field. Of course you go
for it if you’re Carroll.
- Yup, I love Pete Carroll.
- Of course it’s a first down. Of course.
- And Penn State finally comes up with a big play. Gable fumbles, and
Penn State gets its big break to finally slow down the USC attack.
- Thanks for playing, Gable. You’ve GOT to hang on to the ball.
Penn State on its own 43
- Penn State has to go into two-minute mode. It can’t stick with
the run-and-power game. Clark has to start winging it and he has to
start showing why he was such a top playmaker in the Big Ten.
- Clark is getting a ton of time to throw, but the receivers aren’t
- Is Rey Maualuga in the game?
- Taylor Mays blasts Clark. He’s talking about coming back, but he’s a
top 15 pick.
- It’s four-down territory on the USC 41. Penn State has to go
exclusively to the passing game.
- And there’s Maualuga. He matches Green step-for-step and makes the
- Clark gets time, makes a move, and completes the pass … short of the
first down. Penn State turns it over. And the pain and suffering for all
who are watching continues.
USC on its own 42
- Oh gee, and here we go. Brent and Kirk are talking about a
Plus One and whining about why USC should be playing someone else for a
national title. Two words: Oregon State.
- The Penn State safeties have gone bye-bye. Anthony Scirrotto is having
a miserable game.
- At least this clunker is going by quickly. Four minutes to go in the
- Bowman is the one Penn State player who has shown up.
- If the Plus One moaning is part one of the Rose Bowl blowout banter,
then part two is the blasting of the Big Ten. Look, people, around 112
other teams would be getting obliterated by USC in Pasadena on New
Penn State on its own 20
- Penn …. State … is … going … two … miles … per … hour …
deliberately … going … to … the … huddle … and … not … showing … any …
sense … of … urgency.
- If Penn State was offered the option of the final score being 31-7 in
exchange for two tickets to see Valkyrie, it seems like half this
team would go see the flick.
- Ohhhhhh. There’s a penalty flag thrown on the play on Taylor Mays for
a helmet-to-helmet hit. College football needs to institute a rule that
players who come up with a hit like that should get tossed. Those are
the kinds of plays that end careers.
- Penn State is marching, but it didn’t do anything in the lightning
fast quarter to get back in the game.
Third Quarter Score: USC 31 … Penn State 7
Fourth Quarter Score
- Clark rumbles down near the goal line, gets popped, and fumbles. It
- Penn State finally gets back on the board with Clark finding Williams
for a touchdown. That was a great drive showing tremendous pride, but it
took way too long.
- Alright, I’ll be the one to kickoff this typical blowout rant. Penn
State gets a quick stop, finds a way to score, there’s eight minutes
left in a ten point game. I’m just rooting for an interesting game.
USC 31 … Penn State 14
USC on its own 20
- Now is when USC is USC. This is when it the team answers with
the drive to end any thoughts of a comeback.
- Penn State, if you really deserve to be in the Rose Bowl, this is when
you come up with a stop.
- Give the Penn State coaches credit for being stubborn. They’re not
adjusting at all with the coverage. Sanchez is drooling out there
when he sees how wide open everything is.
- Ronald Johnson is wide open … 45 yard touchdown.
- Scirrotto gets blown past after biting on a short play. It’s not all
his fault, of course, but he’ll want to quickly forget this game.
- I don’t believe it. Keyshawn Johnson, possibly the worst color analyst
this side of Mike Ditka, and the ultimate USC homer, doesn’t fall for
the Brent softball of wanting to see USC play the Oklahoma – Florida
winner. Johnson remarks that Oregon State is why USC isn’t playing for
the national title.
- What the fu……? That’s G?
USC 38 … Penn State 14
Penn State on its own 15
- And to think, Penn State was a last second field goal against
Iowa away of playing for the national title.
- Third and eight and Clark is starting to find his targets a little bit
- Penn State hasn’t been able to go with its strength, the running game,
- Clark is making plays on the move. The receivers aren’t open, but
they’re not playing all that poorly and they’re starting to come up with
- Penn State is marching, and it’s not because USC is letting up.
- Oooooh. Stephfon Green busts through the middle, Cary Harris tries to
make a bit his, and takes the worst of it.
- Clark had a man wide open and overshot him. He’ll never have a
receiver that open ever again.
- Penn State has to take three more shots into the end zone. A field
goal doesn’t matter, pride or no, at this point.
- Why? Penn State gets stopped by Maualuga and now it’s fourth and
short. Why possible good does a field goal do? Ooooh, it’s 38-17. That
matters for pride. Ooooh.
USC 38 … Penn State 17
USC on its own 21
- Two stopped plays and it’s 3rd and 16. USC runs it
with just over six minutes to play. Penn State gets its stop, and now,
it’s vital to chuck it and hope for something interesting to happen.
Penn State has to try to prolong the game.
Penn State on its own 45
- They’re moving the ball. Clark and the passing game aren’t
bad, and again, USC is trying.
- Penn State is letting 30 seconds roll off the clock on every play. If
this is really about pride, you go for the quick touchdown and the
- Jordan Norwood is back from the big hit by Mays and he gets Penn State
- Yes, this does matter. 38-24 and then USC’s defense can’t be called
the greatest of all-time.
- Stephfon Green is now hurt.
- Five minutes to play.
- Brent and Kirk are so into the USC lovefest that they’re blowing off
the storylines that are happening. Penn State might get this thing to
two touchdowns. They’re battling.
- Touchdown Penn State. Jordan Norwood makes the grab, and now it’s
38-24 with 4:24 to play. With the way the Penn State passing game is
clicking, with a successful onside kick, this could get fun. I’m
reaching here in search of something interesting, but Brent and Kirk are
too busy doing other things.
USC 38 … Penn State 24
USC on its own 20
- WHAT?!??!!!?! How can you say you’re trying to play for
pride, get within two touchdowns, and then kick it deep? Penn State
might be hoping for a quick three and out, but if you’re trying to win
the game with 4:24 to play, you go for the onside kick.
- To me, Penn State has either quit, or the coaches just made a
tremendous tactical error.
- Third and three. Penn State has to come up with the stop here, or this
just didn’t work.
Penn State on its own 37
- And there goes that. The receiver slips, Clark gets hit as he
throws, and USC picks it off to end the fun. This was about to be
interesting, but Clay Matthews, who might be the defensive MVP of this
game, all but ended the fun.
USC on its own 45
- No, Kirk, you can’t have it both ways. He said USC kept
trying, but it took its foot off the gas in the second half. Not on
defense it didn’t.
- Fourth and four and USC is punting with under a minute to play. Penn
State should send everyone including Paterno’s bad hip to come up with
- Bad snap on the punt, USC has the ball on the 13.
- Could Penn State make the final score 38-31? USC is having a nightmare
of a time closing.
Penn State on the USC 13
- This could be Christmas time for those on the Penn State side
of the ledger …
- And Brent alludes to it. Penn State scores and covers, and this would
be the miracle of all sports betting miracles.
- I know betting isn’t supposed to be a part of this, but there’s almost
nothing better than being in a Vegas sportsbook at this exact moment.
- Clark stops the clock with seven seconds to play.
- USC defense … here’s your final test and your final statement.
- Clark ends the game with a bizarre play, throwing it into the end zone
to no one in particular. Picked off. USC holds.
- Yuck … last year it should’ve been Georgia vs. USC. This year, can we
see what Texas and USC are doing a week from now?
Final Score: USC 38 … Penn State 24