PASADENA—The 2022 Rose Bowl was an epic, thrilling game which saw No. 6 Ohio State come from behind to defeat No.11 Utah, 48-45 on New Year’s Day. Clear skies, sunlight bouncing off the San Gabriel mountains made for an ideal backdrop for the, “Granddaddy of Them All” that will not be soon forgotten.
Ohio State had four players opt out the game, compounded with their loss against Michigan, the devastating loss bounced the Buckeyes out of the College Football Playoff. However, their focus and determination never wavered.
A total of 93 points, numerous records being set left and right and over 87,000 shrieking fans proved to be essential ingredients for this Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes outscored the Utes 27-10 in the second half, as wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Nijgba caught 15 receptions for 346 yards and three touchdowns, shattering the record for most yards in a FBS Bowl game.
Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud threw for an eye popping 573 yards and six touchdowns, including the 30-yard TD pass to give them a 45-38 lead with 4:22 left in the game. Utah responded with an inspiring drive where Utes backup QB Bryson Barnes replaced the injured Cam Rising to even the score at 45 apiece.
OSU cemented their eighth Rose Bowl victory in school history with a 56 yard drive culminating with a 19-yard field goal by Noah Ruffles in the final seconds.
“For us to respond the way we did at halftime and to come out and play in the second half says a lot about the character of this team to win this game,” said Ohio State head coach Ryan Day.
Early on, Utah set the tone jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. The Utes defense was imposing its will against Ohio St. Utah seemed on its way to a victory when running back Micah Bernard made a stunning catch dragging his toes for a 15-yard touchdown catch. In addition, Britain Covey returned a. 97-yard kickoff as it appeared Utah would be too tough on this day. Ohio State responded with a 25-yard touchdown to Marvin Harrison Jr. who had three touchdowns catches of his own.
At halftime, this heavyweight bout was 35-21 in favor of Utah, but this contest turned out to be a tale of two halves. Ohio State outscored Utah 27-10 in the second half.
Utah boasted a strong defense all season, yet their depleted secondary and inability to rush the quarterback was a factor in the loss. Another problem was the Utes running game, forcing quick possessions that OSU capitalized on. “We came in as freshman together, we were throwing the first day, this doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Stroud on Smith-Nijgba.
Turns out Ohio State was motivated to win the Rose Bowl. It was one for the ages!