I’ll write more tomorrow. I have to take a few deep breaths after a game that probably caused a few coronaries out there. Yeah, USC beat Penn State 52-49 in an unforgettable 103rd Rose Bowl, but don’t let that detract from what these Nittany Lions have accomplished this season.
Once again, I didn’t think they were up to it; once again, they proved me wrong.
This was not the 2008 team flying to Pasadena on a wing and a prayer, getting their clocks cleaned by USC. This bunch of “fighters” knew they could win. They were literally in it until the end, although I think they got a bit conservative once they established a 49-35 lead.
They made several mistakes, but none more costly than the third interception of the day in the waning seconds of the game when we all were confident that we were looking at OT at the least and maybe a win if they could work their magic. Penn State’s chances evaporated pretty quickly, with the only hope being that Matt Boermeester would miss the field goal. It sailed through the uprights with :00 on the clock.
Some will say crap like, “Awww they should have gone to the playoffs because they would have beaten Alabama … blablabla…” There’s about as much chance of that happening as the Cleveland Browns beating New England. But beyond that, the Rose Bowl is the epitome of the college football tradition. Yeah, it has succumbed to the corporate sponsorship thing, but it isn’t all about some stupid, insane quest to determine a still somewhat mythical national champion, which simple minds demand. I think that to have played in a Rose Bowl and made a good showing, win or lose, means so much more than winning a series of sanitized former bowl games driven by big bucks.
I’m proud of Penn State, I’m happy that they believed that they could win this thing until the final seconds, and I’m bummed that they lost. All the sports media will be extolling the hell out of USC in the morning. But for the Nittany Lions, I believe that it was their finest hour.