Nittany Lions to Watch in the Rose Bowl

It's been a long and tiresome journey for two storied programs with a lot in common this season.

Thinking it was mind games to distract his own team, Trojans head coach Elmer Henderson was so upset by his opponent's tardy arrival he confronted Bezdek.

Nittany Lions bask in the glow of Southern California in preparation for their Rose Bowl meeting vs. USC. Farmer started one game for the Nittany Lions this year and has played in all 13. So when the Boilermakers played Washington in the 2001 game, he took his son with him to watch.

Locally the parade will be broadcast on NBC 4 in NY starting at 11 a.m. with the Rose Bowl following immediately afterward.

The Trojans have been dominant in the first halves of their games this season, with a 235-100 edge in the first two quarters, a stretch in which Penn State has been outscored by 196-173. Somehow, after a 1-3 start, they had done it. USC was headed to Pasadena. 21 Colorado and No. 4 Washington.

Both of these teams have overcome harsh sanctions from the NCAA to play their way back into the national spotlight, and the future looks bright for both of these programs with plenty of young talent in the wings. The Nittany Lions have a talented quarterback in Trace McSorley.

No. 5 Penn State has suspended two starters for the Rose Bowl for violating team rules.

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We all know some representative of a Big Ten is going to plod into Pasadena, on a roll and on a high, and then be left flat-footed and grasping at fumes as the Trojans speed by and out of sight.

The similarities don't stop there. While this was the last Rose Bowl trip for both teams the Trojans obviously play here against UCLA every other year and they were at this site back on November 19th when they beat the Bruins 36-14. Saquon Barkley is one of the best running backs in the country and will need to be held in check as well as McSorley through the air. The 2016 Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year has thrown for 2,633 yards with 26 touchdowns, tossing multiple touchdown passes in each of the last eight games. Sam Darnold will use this calmness to put more pressure on the defense with his feet when plays break down. The junior has been excellent covering the top receivers in the Pac-12 and has two touchdowns on punt returns and two touchdowns on kick returns.

October rolled around. Coach Clay Helton made a quarterback change, the team rallied, and eight straight wins later they're playing Penn State in "The GrandDaddy of Them All". McSorley also stepped up when it counted, throwing for four touchdowns and 376 yards against Wisconsin.

The course of the Trojan season changed once they decided to make Sam Darnold their starting quarterback. Some of the Hoosiers up-tempo passing offense, plus Ohio State's elite athletic ability. He rushed for 1,302 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.

Darnold has completed a remarkable 213 of 313 passes for 2, 633 yards. The Trojans boast wide receivers Juju Smith-Schuster and Darreus Rogers on the outside, as well as 1,000-yard rusher Ronald Jones II in the backfield. The Nittany Lions still have Jason Cabinda, one of the best linebackers in the nation. However on Selection Sunday many called for Penn St to receive a playoff berth while even more called USC the team that was playing the best football of anyone.

Line: USC favored by 7 points. In third-down conversion, USC's opponents have only a 35.2 percent success rate, which could pose issues for Penn State, which ranks 121st nationally with a 32.1 percent clip on third down. "We have to play all 60 first". Penn St has only faced two teams that are the same caliber of the Trojans and against the Buckeyes and Wolverines they were outgained by 436 yards and outF'd by 11.

"I told them in the locker room right after that how proud I was of them, I loved them, and I knew that if they kept on going like that, they'd look up in November and be really happy". You're seeing it here in Los Angeles in terms of how Penn Staters feel about their program, win or lose, but it's always nicer when you win.


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