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Flashback #76: Illinois Plays In Rose Bowl (2008)

Joe McKnight of the USC Trojans runs for yardage against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the Rose Bowl.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Joe McKnight of the USC Trojans runs for yardage against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the Rose Bowl. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

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As of 670 The Score’s 20th Anniversary on January 3rd, the station has begun to reveal (in chronological order) the Top 100 Chicago Sports Stories that have occurred since they first went on the air 20 years ago. Once all 100 of these “flashbacks” have been revealed, fans will be able to vote for which stories they believe are the most significant in the 20 year history of The Score. To see all of the Flashbacks that The Score has posted so far, please visit 670 The Score’s 20th Anniversary page.

January 1, 2008 – Illinois plays in the Rose Bowl

Following the 2007 season, the University of Illinois football program was seeing roses.

After finishing the regular season with a record of 9-3, Illinois earned its first trip to the Rose Bowl since the 1984 season.The 13-ranked Illini took on the seventh-ranked Trojans, who were in the Rose Bowl for the third-straight season.

While all of Illini nation was celebrating their first trip to Pasadena in more than 20 years, the game was not such a celebration.

USC marched out to a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Illinois would fight back, though, cutting into the Trojans’ lead with 10-straight points.

The Illini had a chance to cut even further into USC’s lead, but receiver Jacob Willis fumbled into the end zone after a catch, and Trojans linebacker Brian Cushing recovered the ball for a touchback.

From that point on, it was all USC, as the Trojans went on to win, 49-17. The Trojans also gained a Rose Bowl-record 633 yards of offense.

The Score will continue to release a new Flashback each weekday until they reach 100. Check back tomorrow for a new one, or check out all of the previous Flashbacks: 670 The Score’s 20th Anniversary »