PASADENA, Calif. -- Penn State's season came to a thud with tonight's disappointing showing against Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl. Not many gave the Lions a shot, and those pundits proved correct as the explosive Trojans downed Penn State, 38-24, before 93,293 in attendance.
I few thoughts:
-- I'm not sure if the Lions had any chance, but they were undone by a few costly plays/calls. Penalties killed them in the first half. Their failure on third and short in the first half did not help. And Stephfon Green's fumble right before the half was the proverbial dagger.
-- It's hard to blame Joe Paterno for his players' mistakes. I guess you could fault the coach for not having his players ready. But there's a huge difference between watching a team on film and seeing them up close and personal.
-- Mark Sanchez made a name for himself in this one. The USC quarterback was considered a good, if not great, signal caller. This had to be the best game of his career.
-- If there's a finger to point it's got to be directed at the defense, especially the secondary. That senior-laden unit hadn't faced a quarterback like Sanchez nor receivers as skilled as the Trojans all season, and it showed. They played off, as they normally do in their scheme, but couldn't come up and make plays. They played on their heels and looked a little, dare I say, intimidated.
-- Clark never really got into rhythm, but it was as if he had a bad game. When Evan Royster went down with a knee injury the Lions had to go with Green, and the redshirt freshman, despite his dazzling speed, has had problems holding onto the ball. It ended up costing the Lions.
OK, folks that's it. I meet with Paterno in the morning for his end-of-the-season wrap up and then that's it.