NCAA

Instant Replay: No. 5 Penn State stumbles in 4th, falls to No. 9 USC in Rose Bowl

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The Associated Press

Instant Replay: No. 5 Penn State stumbles in 4th, falls to No. 9 USC in Rose Bowl

BOX SCORE

PASADENA, Calif. — Trace McSorley picked a bad time to start throwing interceptions.

The Penn State quarterback had been nearly flawless in protecting the ball during a nine-game winning streak, but three interceptions in the Rose Bowl, including a pick with 27 seconds remaining that USC safety Leon McQuay returned to the Nittany Lions’ 33-yard line, proved to be the difference in a wild 103rd Rose Bowl. 

Despite harnessing its vaunted second-half magic for touchdowns from Saquan Barkley, Chris Godwin and McSorley on the first three offensive plays of the second half, Matt Boermeester kicked a 46-yard field goal as time expired and No. 9 USC rallied to hand No. 5 Penn State a crushing 52-49 defeat in the Rose Bowl on Monday.

McSorley threw consecutive hanging deep balls that McQuay was able to break on — the senior able to collect the second and return it 32 yards — wasting a magnificent charge from Penn State (11-3) behind 193 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Barkley and nine receptions for 187 yards and two touchdowns from Godwin. 

Barkley and Godwin accounted for 381 of Penn State’s 465 yards.

It looked as if USC (10-3) would pick up where it left off when these two teams met in 2009 by bombarding the Penn State secondary and cruising to an easy win. McSorley was picked off on Penn State’s first play from scrimmage after Miles Sanders misjudged the opening kickoff and was lucky to fall on it at the 3-yard line, and threw another interception following a missed USC field goal, leading to an early Trojan touchdown. 

Sam Darnold threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, as USC opened up double-digit leads at 13-0, 20-7 and 27-14. But a third-down face mask penalty on defensive tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu while tackling McSorley kept a Nittany Lion drive alive, and a twisting 11-yard touchdown catch by Mike Gesicki sent Penn State into the locker room down just 27-21.    

After propelling itself to a Big Ten title largely on the strength of its adjustments in the second half, Penn State took that advantage to the extreme with Barkley’s 79-yard touchdown run where he juked four USC defenders and broke two tackles while darting across the field, Godwin’s juggling 72-yard touchdown reception, and McSorley’s 3-yard touchdown run after Brandon Bell intercepted Darnold to take a 42-27 lead.   

USC responded with a 25-7 run, tying the game at 49-49 on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Darnold to Burnett with 1:20 left.  

Defense? What Defense
The highest-scoring Rose Bowl in history was a thoroughly entertaining and utterly unpredictable affair, serving as the perfect antidote to two blowouts in the College Football Playoff semifinals. The two teams combined for 1,040 yards, with McSorley throwing for 254 yards and four touchdowns and his USC counterpart Darnold 453 yards and five touchdowns. 

Penn State and USC had each allowed less than 20 points per game during winning streaks of nine and eight games, respectively, to end the season.

Glue on Godwin’s Gloves
USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson dominated the conversation during the week leading up to the game, but Godwin was every bit the equal of the unanimous All-American, if not better. It would be hard to rank the array of impressive receptions Godwin made, but the standout was likely a grab on the final drive of the first half where the junior reached back with his left hand to catch and tuck the ball away on third down to move the chains.  

Sports Uncovered Podcast: How to listen to episode on Oregon football's uniform revolution

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NBC Sports

Sports Uncovered Podcast: How to listen to episode on Oregon football's uniform revolution

Forget about Chip Kelly for a second: When you think of the University of Oregon, you probably think of their uniforms.

Each season, the Ducks push jersey and helmet designs to new heights, and their trailblazing influence has trickled down throughout college athletics. It all started in the 1990s, when Oregon decided to get crazy - and it worked.

In the second episode of NBC Sports' "Sports Uncovered" podcast series, NBC Sports Northwest takes a deep dive into how Oregon sparked a fashion transformation across college football with a mascot change, and with unique Nike uniforms that helped push the program into the national college football coversation.

The episode features in-depth interviews with former Oregon football head coach Mike Bellotti, former Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington, and more.

The episode releases Thursday, June 11. You can listen to this episode and the entire "Sports Uncovered" series by subscribing for free wherever you listen to podcasts.

To catch every episode, be sure to subscribe to "Sports Uncovered" and have every episode automatically downloaded to your phone. Sports Uncovered is available on the MyTeams app and on every major podcasting platform: Apple, Google Podcast, iHeart, Stitcher, Spotify, and TuneIn

Listen and subscribe to the "Sports Uncovered" podcast:

Jay Wright talks Saddiq Bey, missing March Madness, Phillies

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USA Today Images

Jay Wright talks Saddiq Bey, missing March Madness, Phillies

It's been 12 days since Villanova's season ended abruptly due to the coronavirus crisis. Jay Wright held a video conference on Wednesday to discuss a number of topics. 

Here are the major takeaways from Wright's session with the media.  

This March is different

Villanova missed out on opportunities to win a fourth straight Big East Tournament and participate in the NCAA Tournament for the 15th time in the last 16 years. The Wildcats won eight of their final nine games to clinch a share of the Big East regular season title. Not having a chance to shine in the postseason stings. 

"Missing the NCAA Tournament is obviously tough for our guys," Wright said. "We felt like we were playing great basketball, coming on strong. I always say we want to play our best basketball at the end of the year, and I think we were doing that. It is what it is, our guys get it. 

"It's a great example of our mantra 'attitude'. We try to teach our guys that you don't have control over what happens in life. What you do have control of is your response to what happens to you. 

"I don't know if there's even been a March where I wasn't either in (the NCAA Tournament), watching it or recruiting during it. I'm testing myself on what else is there in me? Being a better father, being a better husband. Spending more time with the kids, watching more movies, reading more, trying to be more worldly. I'm not very good at it but I'm trying."

Will Saddiq Bey leave for the NBA? 

Arguably the biggest question concerning Wright's team heading into the offseason is will Saddiq Bey leave for the NBA or will he return for his junior season at Villanova? Wright mentioned that Bey was especially disappointed when this season was cut short. He realizes that he has a big decision to make on his future. Wright discussed Bey's future plans as well as freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who is also considered an NBA prospect. 

"The NBA is still on hold," Wright said. "They don't have a plan yet for what they're going to do with the pre-draft process or the draft yet. Saddiq and Jeremiah probably both will go through that process when we find out what it is. They're waiting on us for information, should they start working out? We're trying to get them as much information as possible. 

"If we were in a normal timeline, they would both go through the process. As we learn what the NBA is going to do there are so many possibilities. Just to take it to an extreme, there's a possibility they might not have a pre-draft process and just have the draft with no workouts, using the evaluations they had during the season. 

"We're communicating with both of them daily. Saddiq is having a tough time trying to find a place to work out in [his hometown] Washington D.C. He just got a gym to get into so he can shoot, he can't find a gym to get into to lift. Jeremiah is trying to find a place around here to get into to shoot."

2020 Summer Olympics postponed

Wright was supposed to spend a portion of his summer as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team in Tokyo. But with this week's announcement that the Olympics are postponed, his plans have changed. 

"It's the right decision," Wright said. "I feel bad for all of those athletes that it's once in a lifetime experience. I really feel bad for them. For basketball guys it's not as difficult. I talked with [U.S. head coach Greg Popovich] yesterday. It's postponed, obviously not cancelled, postponed until some time next spring or summer. There's a lot of questions there. They could do it late spring, when you might not have NBA players. If they did it in the summer maybe you do have NBA players. We have to wait for the IOC to make those decisions. 

"For us personally (at Villanova), it's kind of crazy because we thought we came up with this great plan. I was going to have to leave our offseason program for the Olympics. We had a plan to work around that, and now it doesn't matter. We'll be here in June and July. Now we don't even know if the players will be here. We worked so hard to put this plan in place for me being away and now it doesn't even matter."

Phillies season on hold

A Bucks County native, Wright is a huge Philadelphia sports fan. He had Phillies season tickets as a kid and is a regular at Citizens Bank Park during the summer months. Like all Phillies fans, he's disappointed the baseball season isn't starting this week.

"The end of the basketball season was always sobering," Wright said. "But what always saved us was the start of the Phillies. Opening Day and the start of baseball season in our family is a big deal. 

"We watch the spring training games, we'll even joke, 'Who do the Phillies play tonight?' It's really surreal. Spring time without baseball, especially the Phillies, is bizarre. It's really the way myself and my family get ourselves out of basketball mode. We go to Opening Day, we go to the Phillies games, we love 'Bark in the Park', we always bring the dogs. We're really going to miss it."

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