We’re counting down the days until kickoff. So, every day, we’ll try to make that time tick by just a little faster by also counting down the top 30 moments of James Franklin’s tenure so far. Up next — with 16 days left — is the No. 16 moment since Franklin took the head-coaching job.
No. 16 moment: Chris Godwin’s Rose Bowl performance
Chris Godwin was sick as could be before the Rose Bowl, vomiting non-stop leading up to the Nittany Lions’ matchup with Southern California.
But on Jan. 2, 2017, it was the Trojans’ defensive coaches whose stomachs were turning. They were watching Godwin rip their secondary to shreds.
Godwin’s stellar Rose Bowl performance might be overshadowed by Saquon Barkley’s 306 all-purpose yards against USC. But the most impressive display by a Penn State wide receiver in a decade won’t be forgotten by fans and James Franklin alike.
Godwin had nine catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns in “The Granddaddy of Them All,” recording the fourth-most receiving yards in Rose Bowl lore and sixth-most in Penn State single-game history.
After four futile drives to start the game, Godwin helped get the Penn State offense going. A 13-yard catch on 3rd-and-8 prevented a fifth-straight empty series, leading to a Barkley touchdown run.
On the next Penn State drive, Godwin snared a ridiculous 30-yard touchdown catch, beating Adoree Jackson in the back corner of the end zone and tip-toeing his way to a score. On the final drive of the first half, Godwin corralled two passes — one of which was a one-handed catch on a throw well behind him.
Through two quarters, Godwin had eight catches for 115 yards, and he wasn’t finished.
On Penn State’s second play of the third quarter — after a 79-yard touchdown run by Barkley — the Nittany Lions struck again. Trace McSorley found Godwin streaking down the sideline, and the wideout bodied his defender, caught a bobbling ball and raced to the end zone for a 72-yard score.
That turned out to be Godwin’s final catch in a Penn State uniform, and boy was it a doozy.
Now, Godwin is in the NFL. He’s making plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in training camp and, based on the hype down in Florida, he figures to be a cog in an explosive offense.
Still, even after his career at the next level is finished, the Rose Bowl could — and probably will — hold up as Godwin’s greatest game ever.