In a wild offensive shootout, USC handed Penn State a 52-49 loss Monday in the Rose Bowl on a game-ending 46-yard field goal by Matt Boermeester. With a spectacular performance by freshman quarterback Sam Darnold, the Trojans overcame a 42-27 second-half deficit.
Darnold completed 33 of 53 passes for 453 yards and a Rose-Bowl record five touchdown passes. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, a junior who will soon decide whether to apply for early draft eligibility, caught seven passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. Darnold’s top target, however, was Deontay Burnett, who caught 13 passes for 164 yards and three scores.
Among several injuries in the game, USC lost star junior cornerback Adoree’ Jackson to a right ankle injury. The injury occurred on a 26-yard kickoff return in the third quarter when he was tackled awkwardly. He required assistance from two USC staffers to get off the field, but said he felt good after the game in describing the injury as a “tweak,” per the Los Angeles Times. Jackson, one of college football’s most dynamic talents, could apply for early draft eligibility to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. College underclassmen have until a Jan. 16 deadline to do so. Jackson told the Times he hasn’t yet made a decision regarding draft entry.
Penn State star sophomore RB Saquon Barkley was a workhorse for the Nittany Lions, helping PSU overcome an early 13-0 deficit after QB Trace McSorley threw interceptions on his first two pass attempts. Barkley finished the game with 194 yards on 25 carries with two touchdowns, and caught five passes for another 55 yards and a score. It marked a Penn State bowl record for rushing yards, which had previously been held by former New York Jets first-round draft pick Blair Thomas. Thomas rushed for 186 yards against BYU in the 1989 Holiday Bowl.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.