With all of the hype surrounding this game, it is impressive that it actually lived up to every college football fanís expectations and then some. After a scoreless first quarter, underdog Penn State shook out the nerves and jumped out to a surprising lead with a 10-yard pass from senior quarterback Michael Robinson to junior running back Tony Hunt.
In true Trojan fashion, USC immediately answered to the score with a 95-yard drive that included a 51-yard run by Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and a nine yard scoring run by touchdown-artist LenDale White.
The Nittany Lions response, a 36-yard Kevin Kelly field goal, was essentially costly as USC was able to put seven on the board again with a seven yard touchdown pass from former Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart to junior wide receiver Steve Smith.
Penn State then floundered on its next drive and was forced to punt to the ever-dangerous Mr. Everything Bush who returned the ball to the 49 with 30 seconds left in the half. Leinart hit Smith again for a big gain and Mario Danelo put up another three points as time expired in the first half to give USC a 17-10 advantage and tons of momentum heading to the locker room.
Maybe a testament to both teamís defensive adjustments, or maybe just to the nerves of the event, both offenses came out for the second half rusty, failing to score in the third quarter at all. Great field position set up by another amazing Reggie Bush return put USC in a spot to score and it did with a 31-yard field goal with 8:08 left in the game.
Up 20-10 and with neither offense doing much, the game seemed to be firmly in the Trojanís grasp. Penn State was not without determination though, as it put together a 71-yard, nine-play drive that featured a five yard TD run by Hunt on fourth-and-1 from the five, in just 1:09 to pull within three.
The onside kick failed though and Leinart downed the ball three times to firmly establish himself as one of the greatest players of all-time, in becoming the only three-time championship quarterback in college football history.
It was Bush though who took home even more hardware as the December Madness MVP, after tallying 711 total yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in just four games en route to the title. Now, I guess there may be more questions to be asked, but we will have to wait to see how the Madness unfolds next year.
Player of the Game: Tony Hunt (125 total yards, 2 TDs)
December Madness MVP: Reggie Bush (711 total yards, 6 TDs)