Williams caught a career-high 10 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown and Ronald Johnson caught two TD passes.
Daryll Clark completed 21-of-36 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Evan Royster, who averaged 6.5 yards per carry in gaining 1,202 yards during the regular season, came out with an injured left knee in the first quarter after picking up 34 yards on six carries.
Carroll’s Trojans have won seven straight conference championships and played in seven consecutive BCS bowls — both records. They’re 6-1 in big games — 5-0 against Big Ten teams such as Penn State — and 82-9 since 2002, Carroll’s second year on the job.
They’ve also won 11 or more games in seven straight seasons — another record.
The Trojans have played in a record-tying four straight Rose Bowls, winning three straight since losing to Texas 41-38 with the national title on the line. They became the first team ever to win three consecutive Rose Bowls.
Kaluka Maiava was the top defensive player, becoming the third straight USC linebacker to win that award.
It became clear in the first quarter that Penn State’s usually dominant defense was vulnerable.
Sanchez threw a 27-yard scoring pass to Williams, capping an 86-yard drive. The Nittany Lions, who were 9½-point underdogs, tied it on a 9-yard run by Clark, capping an 80-yard, nine-play drive.
Maybe the Big Ten would finally hang in there against USC.
Sanchez scored on a 6-yard quarterback draw, completing an 80-yard drive that put USC on top for good.
David Buehler’s 30-yard field goal made it 17-7, and Sanchez threw scoring passes of 19 yards to Johnson and 20 yards to C.J. Gable in a 48-second span late in the second period for USC’s 24-point halftime lead.
Clark threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Williams early in the fourth quarter, capping an 80-yard drive and trimming USC’s lead to 31-14. The Trojans wasted no time in answering, going 82 yards on three plays, the last one a 45-yard scoring pass from Sanchez to a wide-open Johnson with 12:02 left.
If there was going to be any drama on a typically clear and mild afternoon before a crowd of 93,293 in Pasadena, that ended it.
CFT: The University of Miami has come under scrutiny for alleged NCAA infractions, but one unnamed Hurricanes assistant coach says the SEC gets away with far more unreported violations.
CFT: Syracuse confirmed that former quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Don McPherson will have their respective jerseys raised to the Carrier Dome roof this year.
Rose Bowl postgame interviews
Jan 2: Pete Carroll thinks his team is hard to beat and Joe Paterno says his team has nothing to be ashamed of.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
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DPS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban was recently trash-talked by colleagues, and he tells Dan Patrick what he think of these comments.
BCS title game
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Take a look back at legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno through the years.
Since 2002, USC has finished in the top 4 in every final AP poll. No other school has finished in the top 12 every year. In fact, USC, Ohio St., Oklahoma and Texas are the only schools to end each of the last seven seasons in the Top 25.
More on Rose Bowl
No. 5 USC 38, No. 6 Penn State 24