Rose Bowl Breakdown: USC's D will stifle Penn St.'s Spread HD (cont.)
Inside The Scouting Report
Penn State's Spread HD may be the most dynamic and explosive offense the vaunted USC defense has played this year. Considering USC has had trouble containing mobile quarterbacks in the past, Daryll Clark and company could give the Trojans some trouble. We talked to a coach who has scouted both USC and Penn State. Here's what he had to say:
"You had better wrap up and tackle when you face Penn State. USC likes to go for big plays and big hits and sometimes they give up big plays in the process. They can't do that against Penn State or they'll burn you. Their running backs run hard, and when you watch them on tape, once they break a tackle or make you miss, they get 15-20 yards before they're brought down. Penn State's offensive line doesn't make many mistakes. They kind of remind me of the group USC has; they're well-coached and can dominate you if they're on. I have a feeling USC will give up some underneath stuff in order not to give up the big play, at least early on.
"The key for USC is to stay in their lanes and for their linebackers to fall back into their gap defense and make sure they don't get moved or knocked on the line. That's what happened against Oregon State -- they were never in the right place at the right time. That hasn't happened since and if they are where they need to be, they'll be hard to beat.
"The notion that USC has trouble against mobile quarterbacks seems outdated at this point. This isn't the same team that couldn't stop Vince Young in the Rose Bowl; look at what they did to Juice Williams last year. They'll have a spy on Clark the whole game, forcing him to pass and closing any open lanes.
"Derrick Williams jumps off the screen when you watch Penn State. His speed stands out far more than anyone else on that team; he has such quickness that once he's in the open field it looks like everyone else is running in slow motion. He's at another level in terms of speed. He's not your typical Big Ten player. He could play anywhere and be a playmaker."
USC 24, Penn State 13. This isn't the same USC offense that Trojan fans have come to know and love, which would make a blowout difficult, especially considering the distractions offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has faced since being named Washington's new football coach. In the end, however, the Trojans' defense will lead them, giving up a few points in the first half before shutting out the Nittany Lions in the second half. USC will earn its third straight Rose Bowl win and sixth BCS win in the past seven years.