USC jumped to a 21-3 lead and was never really challenged as the substandard Rose Bowl match-up was just that and less. The Illini had only one real chance to stay in the game but fumbled inside the five-yard line with the score 21-10.
SC responded with a 64-yard run by rookie Joe McKnight as he picked up a backward pass and sped through the Illinois defense.
The first half saw the Trojan defense put Illini quarterback Juice Williams in the headlights on every snap. Illinois never got the chance to run their spread offense as the USC linebackers and defensive front completely ruled the line of scrimmage.
The 49 points were the most ever scored by a team playing in the Rose Bowl.
SC finishes the season at 11-2 while Illinois ends 9-4