As 95,128 watched, with arguably the wildest Rose Bowl ever in the heart-stopping balance, Matt Boermeester was asked to be the calm amid the chaos.
When the game ended Monday, there were 101 points, 1,040 yards of offense, five players with 135 or more all-purpose yards and 10 scoring drives of six or fewer plays.
There also was the kicker who attended Cathedral Catholic running down the field with no time on the clock, uncorking a full-sprint, Cam Newton-styled "Dab" after his 46-yard field goal closed No. 9 USC's 52-49 stunner over No. 5 Penn State.
"Wow, what a game," said Boermeester, a junior, through a grin that could stretch well into 2017. "Talk about ups and downs. … I don't know what I would call that (running Dab). A Rose Bowl celebration, I guess."
Under a cotton candy sky in the coldest Rose Bowl since 1974, the jarring back and forth of two unrelenting offenses refused to let anyone consider the chill.
The first indication of the exhausting, exhilarating game to come unfolded less than 5 minutes into the game when USC quarterback Sam Darnold – who at 19, broke Vince Young's record for total offense with 474 - deposited a 26-yard touchdown into the midsection of Deontay Burnett, just ahead of two closing defenders.
The redshirt freshman didn't see JuJu Smith-Schuster, as open as receivers get in Rose Bowls, down the right sideline. The Trojans missed the right guy – and scored anyway.
Or maybe it was Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley, who completed one pass for 2 yards to his team in the opening quarter … and two to the Trojans. A quarter later, he torched the same defense with a blistering passing pace of 596.
Or maybe it was Saquon Barkley, the Nittany Lions' Swiss Army Knife, gutting the middle of the Trojans defense for a 24-yard score in the first half – and squirting to fading stadium daylight after halftime on 79-yard touchdown romp as part of his 306 all-purpose yards.
There were breath-robbing catches and jarring changes of direction.
At one point, the game wobbled the stadium's collective believability with three scoring drives of one play – one play – in a span of 2:39 of the third quarter.
Utter, unchecked chaos.
Utter, undeniable fun.
And for Boermeester, utterly unforgettable.
"As a kicker, you want that chance to win a game," said Boermeester, who hit two of four attempts in the game before nailing the winner. "You don't want to be scared of that opportunity."
The opportunity, like so much of the game itself, seemed improbable until it materialized.
Penn State own the ball and faced 3rd-and-9 on its own 36 with 38 seconds to play. Given the tie game, USC's lack of timeouts and the Trojans' quick-strike capability, you thought the Nittany Lions would run out the clock.
Instead, McSorley's pass was intercepted by Leon McQuay, who weaved through traffic to the Penn State 33.
It will be the most debated call of a dizzying Rose Bowl.
"There was discussion on the headset to run the ball and play for overtime," Penn State Coach James Franklin said. "That's not really who we've been all year long."
USC ran two plays and prepared to kick before the Nittany Lions called a timeout with 5 seconds left to ice Boermeester. To mentally tough kickers, he said, it's more of an assist than aggravator.
"That's only beneficial," Boermeester said. "I think that's sort of a myth."
Suddenly, the 103rd Rose – and perhaps its all-time best – prepared for one foot to provide the curtain call.
"It's a lot tougher to watch your son kick, that's for sure," said Peter Boermeester, Matt's father and a former all-conference kicker at Trojan rival UCLA. "It's been a long journey. He stayed with it and worked really hard. These are the benefits – the winning kick in the Rose Bowl."
Trojans special teams coordinator John Baxter said Boermeester defines a relentless effort to improve and grow.
As a sophomore, Baxter said his game-winning guy recorded just 11 touchbacks on kickoffs. He had eight alone this season against Arizona.
"He's resilient," Baxter said. "He came back at the end and when we needed it the most, he crushed his technique."
Boermeester even earned a small shout-out from USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann during the postgame celebration in a raucous tunnel.
"The coach had the confidence that he would make it … he put him in the position to win and he came through," Swann said.
Boermeester left the Rose Bowl with one tongue-in-cheek regret. He failed to corral the game ball.
"I'm upset about that," Boermeester joked. "I want that ball if someone can help me."
One thing's for sure: After a Rose Bowl unlike any other, ownership of that singular souvenir will be as contested as the game itself.