Penn State

USC scores twice late to deflate Penn State


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Penn State's Christian Campbell reacts as USC kicker Matt Boermeester (39) celebrates his winning kick. — GETTY

PASADENA, Calif. — James Franklin waited until the last Penn State player left the field, doubling back to Rose Bowl Stadium, scanning the sideline and corralling players to the locker room.

As confetti fell on the field several Nittany Lions sat with blank stares, stunned at USC’s game-winning 46-yard field goal as time expired, capping a 10-point, 80-second sequence that dealt the Lions a 52-49 Rose Bowl defeat. Penn State’s 28 points in the third quarter and 21 points in the second were outdone by the Trojans’ 17-point fourth quarter, one where a Trace McSorley third-down pass was intercepted by Leon McQuay and returned to the Penn State 33 yard line with 38 seconds remaining.

Minutes prior USC’s Sam Darnold found wide receiver Deontay Burnett for the tying touchdown with 1:20 left.

As the field goal sailed through the uprights, the championship t-shirts in neatly packed boxes on Penn State’s sideline were wheeled off the field. Senior Derek Dowrey looked out at the crowd decked out in blue and white behind the bench. Their look of dejection was matched by his.

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