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A Look Back at the 103rd Rose Bowl

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football has arrived back home in Happy Valley following a unique and exciting trip to Pasadena, California for the 103rd Rose Bowl Game, presented by Northwestern Mutual. In the highest scoring Rose Bowl game ever played, the 2016 season came to a close for the Nittany Lions in close, but heartbreaking loss to USC. 

From East Coast to West Coast the Nittany Lions were treated to a first-class experience from top to bottom throughout the entire trip. With media opportunities mixed in with Penn State tradition, Penn State also got to have a little fun with a trip to Disneyland. Take a look through the entire trip. 

A LOOK BACK AT THE 103rd ROSE BOWL

The Story Behind Penn State's Rose Bowl Journey

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com 

PASADENA, Calif. - It was a record setting day for the Nittany Lions in the 103rd Rose Bowl, which by any means might signal a triumphant victory. Rather, the year came to a close in a heartbreaking end to a thrilling season that not many could have seemingly predicated. 

Among all the records and even the final result on one of college football's grandest stages though, it's ultimately the journey and the story of a commitment to the process and perseverance that will live on long after the trip back to Happy Valley.

 "There's obviously a lot of raw emotion right now, there is a lot of hurt going on, and that's natural," Penn State head coach James Franklin said following the 52-49 loss to USC. "But these guys should have their chin held high, their chest out, because what we've been able to accomplish this year from the beginning to the end is really the story."

The real story starts with a group of seniors, some of them in their fifth year at Penn State, who all made their collegiate commitment at a time when Penn State was dealing with some of its most tumulus years in program history.

Unwavering in their commitment, the small, yet impactful group built the foundation for a tremendous season which featured eye-opening upsets, dramatic comebacks and winning streaks, culminating in a Big Ten Championship title. Like any season season, there were of course tough losses and costly injuries at times along the way, nothing the Nittany Lions took time to dwell on though. 

"The thing I'm probably emotional about more than anything is this is the last time that this 2017 football team will be together," Franklin said, surrounded by running back Saquon Barkley and safety Malik Golden at the postgame press conference, just outside the Rose Bowl stadium.

For both Franklin and Barkley and even among those in locker room, losing a class as special as the one in 2016, is what hurts the most, as the reality of Penn State's first loss since September 24th begins to set in.

"Because Malik and his other seniors have been through so much in this program, and me specifically, and Penn State, will be indebted to you for a very long time," Franklin said.  "So, thank you, Malik." 

The 103rd Rose Bowl had it all, from a 13-point Penn State deficit in the first quarter, to the Nittany Lions' triumphant third quarter, which featured touchdowns on four straight offensive snaps.

Reeling from the sluggish start, Penn State rose to the occasion, as the Nittany Lion offensive line paved a perfect path for Barkley to shoot right through the middle for a 24-yard touchdown run. Although USC answered back, with each Trojan score, Penn State continued to draw up a response, arriving just a touchdown shy of tying the score off of an 11-yard Mike Gesicki touchdown grab, before a missed USC field goal sent both teams to the locker room for halftime. 

"Yeah, we hate first halves," Franklin said. "We hate them. We said we were going to use the second half game plan in the first half. I really didn't feel like it was our normal problem in first halves, we just turned the ball over."

Penn State came alive in the third quarter, forcing the Trojans to a three-and-out to open the frame before Barkley was back at it again, leaving fans speechless with an incredible 79-yard touchdown run filled with dramatic cuts to give the Nittany Lions the lead, 28-27.

"The O-line blocked it perfectly and got me one-on-one with a guy and I was able to make him miss," Barkley said. "I was just satisfied to get in the end zone, because I feel like we started to turn it over early in that game." 

The sparks continued to fly as a diving Godwin grabbed a 72-yard pass from quarterback Trace McSorley from a bobbling pass on the next Penn State offensive snap. 

Next up it was senior Brandon Bell, who just a few days ago noted that in his final senior season, the legacy he'd like to leave behind is one based on the fact that the circumstances never mattered when his came to an unwavering commitment to Penn State. 

Plucking a tip from Christian Campbell, Bell took off with the interception for a 24-yard return, setting up McSorley for the 3-yard touchdown - a run that took a mere five seconds to set a Rose Bowl record. 

Penn State and USC would trade touchdowns again in the third quarter before the Nittany Lion momentum came to a screeching halt in the fourth quarter.

After a Rose Bowl record 28 points in the third quarter, the Trojan's answered with back-to-back touchdowns in the fourth quarter. A late Penn State turnover saw USC follow with a deciding 46-yard field goal in the last second to win the game.

As red and green confetti sprayed into the stands, the Nittany Lions stood motionless for just a moment before heading into the locker room for the final time this season.

Finishing with a single-game Penn State bowl record nine catches and 187 yards, Godwin's 72-yard touchdown catch from McSorley marks the third-highest scoring pass in Rose Bowl history.

"Obviously its nice to have the idea that I had a pretty decent game but at the end of the day all I'm really worried about is the team success," Godwin said. "I just feel so bad for not only these seniors but for the rest of the guys because we put so much into this, it's been a great season and a great ride and I'm just disappointed I couldn't make the play when it counted for my team." 

The feeling was mutual for Barkley, who finished with 306 all-purpose yards (194 rushing, 55 receiving, 57 kick return), as his 79-yard rushing touchdown ranks as the seventh-longest in Rose Bowl history and the second-longest scoring run in program history.

As Franklin noted in his postgame press conference though, it's not that statistics that matter. 

Rather, it's the foundation built by a group of young men who refused to let adversity and uncertainty define their journey.

Just like Bell, for Golden, it's the intangibles of his commitment that he'd like to be remembered for after a season featuring Penn State's first Rose Bowl appearance since the 2008 season. 

"I probably won't go down as the best Penn State player and I've come to terms with that, but as long as I will go down as one of the most loyal players, I'll be fine with that. Me and the group of guys who came here in 2012 and stayed here through it all."

 With every ending, there's always room for a new beginning though. As heartbreaking as the near-comeback is to stomach for the Nittany Lions as they board the plane back to Happy Valley Tuesday morning, the future is bright for Penn State Football and its returning group. For McSorley, coupled with the lasting legacy of a unique senior class, the sting of a Rose Bowl loss will only serve as motivation moving forward.

"We have to get this feeling and use this pit this pit you have in your stomach, this emotion, this pain, and use that in your motivation when you get into next year into winter workouts, when we get into spring ball, knowing how this feels at this point and never wanting to get back to this feeling again." McSorley said.

VIDEO: Rose Bowl Postgame - James Franklin

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PASADENA, Calif. - Penn State Football fell short in a heartbreaking 52-49 loss to USC in the highest-scoring Rose Bowl ever played Monday evening. Following the tough loss, Penn State head coach James Franklin took questions at the postgame press conference will the entire team was available for interviews in the locker room. 

Catch Franklin at the postgame press conference below. 

VIDEO: Rose Bowl Postgame - Players

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PASADENA, Calif. - Penn State Football fell short in a heartbreaking 52-49 loss to USC in the highest-scoring Rose Bowl ever played Monday evening. Following the tough loss, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and Malik Golden took questions at the postgame press conference will the entire team was available for interviews in the locker room. 

Check in with Golden and Barkley at the postgame press conference.

Hear from Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley, wide receiver Chris Godwin and Golden in a few one-on-one locker room interviews.



Gameday Live - No. 5 Penn State vs. No. 9 USC (Rose Bowl)

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LOS ANGELES - The 103rd Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual has nearly arrived, as Penn State Football is set for its 47th bowl game appearance in program history, squaring off against USC in "The Granddaddy of Them All."

Follow along with our live blog for exclusive content and in-game updates all day long. 


Live Blog No. 5 Penn State vs. No. 9 USC (Rose Bowl)
 

No. 5 Penn State and No. 9 USC Set for 103rd Rose Bowl

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Rose Bowl Media Central I Travel DayDisneyland Day I Defensive Media Availability I Lawry's Beef Bowl I Offensive Media Availability I Rose Bowl Media Day I Rose Bowl Head Coaches Press Conference I Penn State Rose Bowl Pep Rally Photo Gallery

LOS ANGELES - The 103rd Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual has nearly arrived, as Penn State Football is set for its 47th bowl game appearance in program history, squaring off against USC in "The Granddaddy of Them All."

The fifth-ranked Nittany Lions and the No. 9 Trojans will finally meet on the field at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California Monday at 5 p.m. ET, with live coverage on ESPN. 

Penn State's Rose Bowl matchup is nothing short of a marquee matchup, featuring a pair of surging programs with a rich tradition and storied histories. Making their fourth trip to the Rose Bowl, the Nittany Lions and the Trojans first met in the historic event in 1923, in Penn State's first ever bowl game appearance.

USC owns a slim 5-4 advantage in the all-time series, which includes a total of five previous neutral site meetings, including the 1923 and 2009 Rose Bowl games.

In what will be the fourth bowl game meeting between the two teams, the Trojans will become Penn State's most common bowl opponent.

Since touching down in sunny Los Angeles on Monday, the Nittany Lions have soaked in every moment of an exciting and festive week. Penn State held three practices at the StubHub center in nearby Carson, before a final walk through Sunday afternoon.

Penn State also continued its yearly tradition at the conclusion of the final Rose Bowl practice, carrying Nittany Lion seniors off of the practice field with help from selected teammates and staff members. 

 

Outside of business, the Nittany Lions also took some time for a little fun, traveling to Disneyland for a day, enjoying a meal at Lawry's in the beef bowl, taking in a comedy show and even a little bowling on New Year's Eve. 

With fun and final preparations complete, it's time for the Nittany Lions to key in on gameday. A bucket list item for head coach James Franklin and a childhood dream for many on the team, the wait is nearly over.

"This is a game that everybody you talk to talks about how special it is and how unique it is," Franklin said. "I think if you have a bucket list as a coach, this is one of the things that you want to do during your career. Obviously, we're blessed to be here."

The Nittany Lions and the Trojans have seemingly similar paths to the Rose Bowl game this season. Most notably, Penn State turned a 2-2 start into a nine-game winning streak for an 11-2 regular season record that featured a dramatic comeback victory against Wisconsin for the Big Ten Championship. Conversely, USC opened the season 1-3 before closing out the regular season on an eight-game winning streak at 9-3 in the regular season with a second place finish in the Pac-12 South Division.

"I don't know if you could have written a better script for the Rose Bowl with USC and Penn State coming together, how our seasons went, how we kind of both took off at the end of the season and our fan bases and all those types of things," Franklin said. "So it should be pretty exciting."

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What To Watch For -

Penn State
1. The Nittany Lions have proven on multiple occasions this season that they're no stranger to a nail-biting second half comeback. Outscoring opponents 298-105 in the second half, Penn state has also outscored its opponents 121-14 in the fourth quarter across the last eight games. As Franklin noted a few times this week though, it's still a top priority for the Nittany Lions to get out to a strong start. Penn State's high-scoring offense will need to spark early and it's defense will need to come through with key stops to help the Nittany Lions avoid another situation like the 28-14 halftime deficit in the Big Ten Championship win against Wisconsin. 

2. The dynamic duo featuring Nittany Lion quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley is back for another performance on the field as the two playmakers have been centerpieces of the Penn State offense this year. Penn State is one of just 18 FBS teams with a 3,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher. In his first season as the starting signal caller, McSorley set the Penn State season passing yards record with 3,360. Barkley, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year enters the Monday matchup with 1,302 yards rushing, which ranks 10th in program history.   

3. Franklin noted near the end of the week that a top matchup he's eyeing is between veteran center Brian Gaia and USC All-Pac-12 second team defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, who stands 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 320 pounds.

"He has been very disruptive," Franklin said of Tu'ikolovatu. "That's going to be a challenge for us. Brian's our senior starter, a captain, does a great job getting us lined up. He's not the biggest guy in the world. He's big enough to get the job done, but that's going to be a challenge for him."

USC
1. Redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Darnold earned the starting job in the Trojan's fourth game of the season, helping USC to its current eight-game winning streak. The 2016 Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year has thrown for 2,633 yards with 26 touchdowns, tossing multiple touchdown passes in each of the last eight games. Darnold has also completed 213 of 313 total pass attempts on the year.

"I think you've got to try to get to this guy a little bit," Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry said. "But they've done a nice job. He doesn't hold the ball. He's smart enough that he's not going to be careless with it. He doesn't make poor choices. We're going to try to have him do that." 

2. Trojan junior do-it-all cornerback-wide receiver-return Adoree Jackson is a highlight of the USC team, who has the ability to come through a wide variety of big plays. The 2016 Jim Thorpe Award winner earned numerous honors this season, as he stands as the USC career record holder for kickoff return yardage (2,045 and returns (75). 

"He's definitely a game changer," McSorley said. "A guy of his capability, any time you throw the ball near him, he can maybe a play. He's a big-play guy, so you have to be aware of the type of player he is and where he is at all times, knowing how he plays guys and how he can play in certain different coverages and not being away from him, but respecting the type of player that he is."

3. Led by Tu'ikolovatu, the Trojan defensive line is big, physical and strong having had to rebuild this year after loosing all five starters from the 2015 season. Defensive end Porter Gustin leads the team with 12.0 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Gustin highlighted the season with a game-high nine tackles in the early season meeting against Alabama. 

The Final Word -
In a team meeting Franklin asked every single member of the meeting to stand if they had ever been a part of a 12-win season in college football at any point in their career. Only three or four people stood up. Come Monday, the Nittany Lions will have another opportunity to add a milestone to an already impressive list this season. 

"I think they're special seasons," Franklin said. "I've been a part of 11-win seasons. I've never been a part of a 12-win season. To me, that's a different threshold. You have 12-win seasons, and there's only a handful of teams in the country that are going to do that. That's special." 

Should the Nittany Lions defeat the Trojans, Penn State will etch its first 12-win season into the record book since 1994, a milestone reached by just three other teams in the entire history of the program. 

Rose Bowl Head Coaches Press Conference

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Transcript: Franklin I Photo Gallery I Rose Bowl Media Central

LOS ANGELES - In his final media appearance before gameday, Penn State head coach James Franklin met with members of the media Saturday morning ahead of the 103rd Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. 

The Nittany Lions and the Trojans are set to square off in "The Granddaddy of Them All" Monday, Jan. 2 at 5 p.m. ET with live coverage on ESPN. 

Covering a wide variety of topics this morning, Franklin opened his press conference with high praise for the Tournament of Roses organization, for all they have done to provide a unique and memorable experience for the team.

"We've had a tremendous experience so far," Franklin said. "Everything's been really organized. Our players have gotten a chance to have some really unique experiences, same thing with our coaches."

Check out a few more highlights from the Q&A session below.

Core Values
When asked about his leadership and core values, Franklin was quick to elaborate on one of the fundamental pieces of the Nittany Lion football program - his four core values.

"That's something that I believe in and our players have, and really players that have been with us for a number of years," Franklin said, before describing each of the core values.

For Franklin and his staff though, perhaps the most important and challenging of the four is "sacrifice."

"Everybody says that they want success, but very few people are willing to sacrifice things to have the success that they want," Franklin said. "Are you able to give up small things now for big things later in life?"

Check out Franklin's full segment on the four core values.

The Ultimate Teammate
Speaking of core values, most Penn State fans have seen Franklin's pregame pump up session throughout the year, where he and Nittany Lions Nick Scott and Marcus Allen push back-and-forth, holding the entire team back, just before running on to the field for kickoff.

Having Scott there among the the leaders of the hype, is something Franklin noted as a special responsibility for the junior in the pregame experience, specifically relating to the type of student athlete he is.

"We do a thing that we call ultimate teammate, which, typically in team meetings, we start with either our core values or ultimate teammate and have somebody kind of say that," Franklin said. And ultimate teammate is basically who is the guy in the program that everybody respects for how they handle their business both on and off the field." 

Scott is frequently mentioned among staff members and teammates alike as the ultimate teammate, for his positive attitude and energy that he brings daily, whether its in meetings or on gameday.

McSorley's Intangibles
On a few occasions this season Franklin has noted that based on just eye test alone, Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley might not score high. As the 3,000-yard passer has proved all year long though, it's his unique set of intangibles that are checking boxes for Franklin and his staff.

"Winner, he's a winner," Franklin said. "Four straight State Championships games that he appeared in in high school. Accuracy, he's got that. Mobility, he's got that. Competitive demeanor, he's got that. Ability to affect people around him, I think that's one of the more important traits - it's does he make the people around him better? He does that. Do the guys want to play for him? He does that."

Franklin, Helton and the Leishman Trophy
In between press conferences, Franklin and USC head coach Clay Helton paused for a quick picture between the Leishman Trophy, presented to the winner of the Rose Bowl Game.
 

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A Visit with Sandy Barbour
Penn State Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour took time to meet with members of the media at the conclusion of the head coach press conferences. Barbour took time meeting with members of the media for a short question and answer session which spanned a variety of topics.
 

Barbour pointed out that the success of the Nittany Lion football season has certainly played out positively not only in the Happy Valley community, but across the country too. 

"You see it every where you go," Barbour said. "You're seeing it here in L.A. in terms of how Penn Staters feel about their program, win or lose, but it's always nicer when you win, you have a little bit of pep in your step, you square your shoulders a little bit more and we're seeing that here and we're seeing that in every aspect of the community, every aspect of the program." 

Check out a snapshot of Barbour's media availability below.

Rose Bowl Media Day Recap

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Transcript: James Franklin I Photo Gallery I Rose Bowl Media Central

LOS ANGELES - Penn State Football was up and at it bright and early this morning, participating in the Rose Bowl Game media day. The entire team and coaching staff traveled to the media hotel in downtown Los Angeles for nearly an hour of open question and answer sessions.

The Nittany Lions will hit the practice field again early this afternoon before taking a bit of time after practice to give back in a charitable event.

Check out a few updates from the media day event below.

Present in the Moment
Throughout the season, staying present in the moment has been a key focus in the message from the coaching staff to student-athletes, and it's something the Nittany Lions have fully embraced.

"It's been huge, especially toward the end of the season," running back Andre Robinson said. "Especially during the last game, Michigan State, when we were thinking Ohio State needs to beat Michigan for us to go to the Big Ten Championship game or we'll go to this or that bowl, but really just staying in the moment and controlling what we can control has helped us to the position we're in now."

The ability to stay focused under pressure and ignore whatever the outside circumstances are has paid dividends for the Nittany Lions, who enter the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual on a nine-game winning streak, fresh off of the program's fourth overall conference title. 

Being at such a historic and prestigious event like the Rose Bowl hasn't deterred the Nittany Lions from their plan to remain present in the moment as gameday draws closer each day.

"Just stay in the present, wherever you're at," quarterback Trace McSorley said. "If we're at Disneyland, being there and having fun and enjoying that. And if you're out of practice, you're in meetings, focus there, paying attention in meetings. At practice you're going through each drill like it's a game day rep, things like that. Just staying present and staying in the moment." 

A Turning Point
Speaking of the nine-game winning streak, McSorley has often noted throughout the regular season that the team came together and started watching film on their own nearly four games into the season, getting a head start on their weekly Monday off day.

"On Mondays, me, Brian Gaia, Chris Godwin, DaeSean Hamilton, Andrew Nelson and a couple other guys, kind of got together after the Michigan game and started doing these player runs and film sessions where we get as many guys as we could on the offensive side of the ball, watching as a unit," McSorley said. 

The early preparation translated into better practices with the Nittany Lions already having a jump on looks for Tuesday practice. Off the field though, the extra time together ultimately meant a lot more extra time together come postseason. 

"As players, we really flipped the switch in our preparation, as far as how we were preparing during the week, the mentality we were bringing into practice ourselves and that kind of switched," McSorley said. "And that change is what really helped us to be able to turn our season around and get us on this nine-win streak we're on and be able to end up being in the Big Ten Championship at the end of year and allow us to play in the Rose Bowl." 

Cabinda's Unsung Hero
When asked about who he's name as the unsung hero this year, linebacker Jason Cabinda directed that credit to Penn State's defensive line.

At the start of the season, it was a swirl of doubt that surrounded the Nittany Lion defensive linemen such as Carl Nassib, Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettle, who all departed and moved on to the NFL. As new leaders emerged, that notion of doubt quickly became old news as Penn State was busy moving forward.

"It's a testament to really our strength coaches and what they've been able to do in the offseason," Cabinda said. "They really grind it and really wear teams down in the third and fourth quarter. I think in the second half, you've seen our D-line get a ton of negative yard plays, TFLs and sacks, and even zero yard plays are really huge to be honest."

Check out a few more one-on-one question and answer sessions from Rose Bowl media day below.

 
A Childhood Dream

If you ask nearly any Nittany Lion on the team about the opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl, it's been a common answer all week that it's a dream-like experience since childhood.

"This game is special and just the tradition it holds here, I remember growing up and watching games and watching USC and Texas go at it," running back Saquon Barkley said. "I'm just really excited to be able to play this game and represent Penn State."

We caught up with a few more Nittany Lions for a look back at some of their earliest childhood memories of "The Granddaddy of Them All." 

Rose Bowl Offensive Media Wrap-Up

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CARSON, Calif. -  Penn State's second Rose Bowl practice on location in California is in the books, as the Nittany Lions took to the practice field at the StubHub Center on a warm and sunny afternoon. 

Following practice, offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead and five Nittany Lions met with members of the media for the offensive media availably opportunity. Along with Moorhead Nittany Lions Trace McSorley, Saquon Barkley, Mike Gesicki, Ryan Bates and DaeSean Hamilton spent time during the half hour question and answer session. 

After wrapping up defensive media availability yesterday, Penn state is another day closer to the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. ET Monday, January 2nd in Pasadena. 

Check out a few takeaways from the afternoon media sessions.

 A Prolific Offense in The Making
In just his first season as Penn State's offensive coordinator, Joe Moorhead has reshaped and revamped the Nittany Lion offense into a dynamic unit that ranks among the most prolific in program history.

The revitalization is just what Moorhead had in mind when he arrived in Happy Valley and something that certainly didn't happen over night. 

"We came in during camp and Joe Mo put up on a board all the teams, the successful teams in Penn State history and the bowl games they went to and the points they averaged," Barkley said. "It's all 30 points or up."

Similar to a roadmap, that board in preseason would be the foundation for Moorhead's newly installed offense, with the goal to reach the ultimate level, whether it be a national championship or even a prestigious bowl such as the upcoming "Granddaddy of Them All."

Aware of the challenge ahead, the Nittany Lions have dazzled fans with a high-scoring offense that frequently features a sprinkling of jaw-dropping long yardage plays. Perhaps it's more than a sprinkling though, as the tandem of McSorley and Barkley have played major roles in helping Penn State emerge among Big Ten teams as a leader in chunk plays of 20 yards or more.

An abrupt deep ball is all part of what makes the offense so exciting for the Nittany Lions to execute week in and week out though.

"That's the nature of our offense," Hamilton said. "A deep play could happen any moment, any time. So just always being prepared when your number is called and things like that is really what it all comes down to, and knowing your details, knowing your assignments no matter what. Guys have been able to step forward and take on their roles and take on their opportunities."

Hamilton's Momentum
One of those Nittany Lions taking full advantage of his opportunity on the field is Hamilton, who has seen success throughout the season, but most recently posting a game-high eight catches in the Big Ten Championship game against Wisconsin - the second-most in the history of the event.

For Hamilton, the opportunity to make big plays has come from the year-long focus from Penn State opponents, attempting to limit Barkley.

"Guys trying to take him away opens up the passing lanes for guys like myself, Mike [Gesicki], Chris [Godwin], DeAndre [Thompkins], and things like that," Hamilton said. "Once that happens, teams are finally caught off balance, they don't know what to do. Then when we're able to hit them with a run or a pass, and those go for 20, 25 yards, big plays like that, then teams are just caught off guard, and that's when we're finally clicking on all cylinders." 

A Few Notes on USC and the Rose Bowl

- Barkley's early USC impressions thus far in pregame preparation. 

"Their defensive line is impressive in general. But their one defensive tackle is really good. We have to be aware where he lines up and where he's at. Their one linebacker, I think he was a freshman All-American last year, he was really good too. Their one defensive end is huge. I mean, looks like a door, like he's huge, like he's really massive." 

- Hamilton's early takeaways on the Trojan defense.

"Fast, athletic. I'd say really they swarm around the football. Confident group of players. I'd say they're a lot like our defense. Very athletic in the back end. Strong, strong front seven, and basically kind of athletic in the front end also."

- McSorley's impressions on USC'S Adoree Jackson.

"A guy of his capability, any time you throw the ball near him, he can maybe a play. When he gets the ball in his hands or he gets his hand on the ball, he's a threat to do something with. He's a big-play guy, so you have to be aware of the type of player he is and where he is at all times, knowing how he plays guys and how he can play in certain different coverages and not being away from him, but respecting the type of player that he is. Not being scared of it, but respect that he is a tremendous talent and he's a tremendous player."

More from the Nittany Lion Q&A sessions below. 

A VIP Rose Bowl Experience
Penn State families and friends were treated to a special experience this afternoon. Various family members, staffers and friends were all invited to a VIP tour of the Rose Bowl Stadium as well as a sneak peak at the float decorating stations for the upcoming Tournament of Rose Parade on gameday.

Check out a sneak peek from the exclusive tour. 

Penn State At The Lawry's Beef Bowl

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Rose Bowl Media Central

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Penn State football attended the annual Lawry's Beef Bowl Wednesday evening for a prime rib feast. One of the oldest and most historic traditions in Rose Bowl Game history, the Nittany Lions traveled Beverly Hills, entering the restaurant with a warm welcome.

"Overall the whole experience has been tremendous," Franklin said. "Coming in here tonight with the welcome we got was awesome."

Penn State head coach James Franklin as well as Nittany Lions Mike Gesicki and Curtis Cothran met briefly with members of the media before getting right to eat.

Nittany Lion Tyler Yazujian did the honors for Penn State with the ceremonial salad spin.

"First I was a little nervous, I didn't want to mess it up," Yazujian said. "But it was fun and I'm glad I got to do it."

Derek Dowrey followed with the ceremonial first cut of prime rib, decked out in a chef's attire before delivering a heaping plate of tasty food to Franklin.

"It was a lot of pressure, the guys here tired to coach me up the best they could, they're professionals though, I'm not on the level they are very talented. I just had to cut the steak and plate the food as best as I could and take it to coach Franklin. 

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