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2017 Rose Bowl

Rose Bowl | Pasadena, CA

2017 Rose Bowl: Matt Boermeester's last-second field goal seals epic win for Trojans

Jan 3, 2017

PASADENA, Calif. – Matt Boermeester didn’t even watch the ball go through the uprights. He knew it was good, and the 95,000-plus fans in attendance let him know about it.

For the final act of the 103rd Rose Bowl Game on Monday evening, Boermeester nailed a 46-yard field goal to give the USC Trojans an improbable, unforgettable 52-49 win over Penn State.

He might have missed two field goals earlier in the game. Penn State coach James Franklin might have tried to ice him with a timeout and five seconds left on the clock. But Boermeester spent Sunday night visualizing the game-winning, clock-expiring kick to the point that he already had a celebration picked out.

Once it left his left foot and tumbled end-over-end through the goal posts, Boermeester buried his head in one bent elbow while straightening out his other arm. Or as the kids say these days, Boermeester ‘hit the dab.’

“I don’t know what I would call that,” Boermeester said smiling in the locker room after the game. “A Rose Bowl celebration.”

Boermeester told his fellow specialists, including holder Wyatt Schmidt, that they needed to hit the dab, too, but it didn’t go as planned. Boermeester went solo.

“He called that [Sunday] which is funny,” Schmidt said. “He wanted all of us to do it but I couldn’t do it. It was just weird that he called it [Sunday]. … We were joking about if we have the opportunity to make the game-winner in the Rose Bowl, is Matt going to be able to do it? Every time he looked at us and just said, ‘You know it,’ and we all agreed.”

Since he was five years old, Boermeester has been coming to the Rose Bowl. But he used to be wearing blue and gold threads, as his father was a kicker for the UCLA Bruins from 1977-79 when they played at the Memorial Coliseum. Funny how it works out, because now his dad has switched over to wearing the red and gold of USC.

“He’s the one that got me into it. I wouldn’t be here without him," Boermeester said of his father. "He got me to start. The first ball I put down in La Jolla, California, it was with my dad. … But the transfusion has definitely been complete. For the last year or so he’s been wearing USC gear.”

As Leon McQuay III rolled down the USC sideline with his crucial, last-minute interception, Boermeester knew it was his time. Standing on the sideline near Penn State's 33-yard line as McQuay was eventually forced out of bounds, Boermeester got into the zone. He was happy to get some extra time during the timeout to focus and visualize the kick one more time. Ditto for his father, who had been preparing his son for this moment for years.

“I knew it would help him,” Paul Boermeester said. “Then he has time to gather his thoughts together. I always told him, don’t worry about the timeouts. They get you ready for the kick. … I’m so proud of him, because I know it was a lot of pressure.”

The rest was Rose Bowl history.

“Right when I kicked it,” Boermeester said, “I knew it was going in.”