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Roundtable: Rose Bowl projections

In this edition of the roundtable we look ahead to the Rose Bowl and project how things will go for the Trojans:

Who will score the first USC points?

Garry Paskwietz: Adoree’ Jackson will take the opening kickoff back for a touchdown.

Johnny Curren: Sam Darnold will hit JuJu Smith-Schuster for a long touchdown pass on USC’s first possession.

Greg Katz: Wide receiver Deontay Burnett. He will run a corner pattern for a 17-yard touchdown reception for the first score from Sam Darnold.

HelixTrojan: RB Ronald Jones will score the first Trojan touchdown on a short run near the goal line.

Who will get the first defensive turnover?

GP: Rasheem Green will get a strip sack and the fumble will be recovered by Porter Gustin

JC: Stevie Tu’ikolovatu will recover a fumble after Cameron Smith forces Saquon Barkley to cough the ball up.

GK: Corner Biggie Marshall will step in to make a key interception in the second quarter.

HT: LB Michael Hutchings will recover a Penn State fumble.

Who will make a big play in the game?

GP: Sam Darnold will hit a long touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster

JC: Adoree’ Jackson will return a kickoff for a long score just when it looks like Penn State is seizing momentum.

GK: Sam Darnold will run an 8-yard quarterback draw midway in the fourth quarter.

HT: Adoree Jackson will make the biggest play of the game on a punt return that opens up a lead for USC.

Who will be the unsung hero of the game?

GP: Deontay Burnett will be a steady presence in the USC passing game

JC: Tu’ikolovatu, because he will clog up the middle, making it impossible for Barkley to ever really get rolling. As a result, all of the pressure will be placed squarely on the shoulders of Trace McSorley, who will have difficulty dealing with the Trojans’ pass rush.

GK: Returning to his great moments against UCLA in the Rose Bowl, wide receiver De’Quan Hampton will make three key receptions, which will result in a first down in the fourth quarter that will lead to the winning USC score.

HT: TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe will really be a factor in this game, and will hurt Penn State’s defense in the middle of the field.

Who will be the player of the game?

GP: Stevie Tu’ikolovatu will dominate the middle of the line of the scrimmage to slow the Penn State running game, which will be a big key for the Trojan victory

JC: Darnold, because he will continue to do the same thing that he has done ever since taking the reins of the Trojans’ offense – lead the team to a victory with his unique playmaking ability – both as a passer as well as with his feet – and his cool and calm demeanor on the field.

GK: Sam Darnold will provide a performance that will lay the foundation for a run at the 2017 Heisman. He’ll throw for 275 yards, three touchdowns, and one touchdown run.

HT: QB Sam Darnold will be the player of the game because of his efficiency, especially in the red zone.

Garry Paskwietz

A 1988 graduate of USC with a degree in Sports Information. Worked in sports marketing for LA Lakers and Miller Brewing Company. Began covering the Trojans in 1996 with the Trojan Football Fax. Founded WeAreSC in November 1998 with stints at Scout and ESPN. Emmy-winner while covering high school football at Fox Sports West.

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