Ohio State Wins Thriller Over Utah in 108th Rose Bowl Game

PASADENA, Calif. – The Ohio State Buckeyes faced off against the Utah Utes in the 108th edition of the Rose Bowl Game. Ohio State had their struggles early, and Utah looked to be the dominant team through three quarters. The Buckeyes never lost their composure even as the Utes’ lead continued to grow early. Ohio State never gave up, and in the fourth quarter, took the lead late and eventually ended up as the Rose Bowl Champions.

Utah chose to receive in the first half showing Ohio State that they mean business and plan to take control of this bowl game early. The Utes’ Cameron Rising showed us just how good he is by taking control of the game on their second possession, pushing the Ohio State defense around. Rising was able to connect with Britain Covey for a 19-yard touchdown.

The Buckeyes looked sluggish and unable to answer what the Utes were doing defensively in the first quarter. Rising connected with Micah Bernard for 12-yards and a touchdown after smoothly moving the chains downfield. At the end of the first quarter, Utah took a commanding 14 point lead and looked like they were going to continue to roll over the Ohio State defense.

At the start of the second quarter, we saw what looked like a spark for the Buckeyes offense when C.J. Stroud connected with Marvin Harrison Jr. for a 25-yard touchdown. The Utes responded quickly with a ten-play, 76-yard touchdown drive. Rising connected with Devaughn Vele early in the drive for 23-yards setting up the momentum of the whole drive. Rising and the Utah offense was sitting goal line when Tavion Thomas walked in untouched to extend their lead to 21-7.

The next series of possessions were some of the wildest in Rose Bowl history. Ohio State kicked off their drive with a run for 10-yard by Miyan Williams. Stroud then connected with Jaxson Smith-Njigba for a huge 50-yard touchdown pass, pushing the score to 21-14 Utah. Then the Utes’ Covey responded with an amazing 97-yard kickoff return resulting in a touchdown, extending their lead to 28-14.

Then as if Stroud and Smith-Njigba were not about to be outdone by the Utes Special Teams, they responded with a beautiful 52-yard touchdown pass. Cutting the deficit down to 28-21 Utah. The whole time of possession for that Ohio State touchdown was 10 seconds. The Utes’ Rising looked like he was on fire when he went on a 62-yard rush resulting in a touchdown on the next possession. Utah looked like they might start running away with this football game, with a score of 35-21.

The Buckeyes went on an excellent drive to respond, but as Smith-Njigba was at around the 6-yard line, Utah’s Clark Phillips III was able to punch out the ball, causing a touchback in the end zone. This fumble would essentially be the last huge play before the half. There were five touchdowns in less than ten minutes of play, resulting in one of the more insane things that happened during this shootout.

Ohio State received the ball at the start of the second half, and they came out the gate looking to score, but unfortunately, their drive ended in a pick in the end zone resulting in a touchback.

Rising and the Utes had their own issues on their next possession when Williams fumbled the ball at the Utah 11-yard line and was recovered by Ohio States’ Bryson Shaw. With excellent field positioning, Rising made an easy 8-yard pass to Harrison Jr. for a touchdown closing the gap to 35-28. The next Utah drive was hard-fought but only resulted in a field goal, extending their lead to 38-28. Clearly, whatever Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day said in the locker room at halftime was working. The Buckeyes looked like the strong powerhouse team they traditionally are known to be. On their next possession, Ohio State countered with a field goal, closing the gap to just seven points at 38-31.

The fourth quarter is when disaster struck for the Utes. Rising pushed his Utah offense down to the Ohio State 31-yard line, but then they went for it on fourth down but came up a yard short, forcing a turnover on downs. Ohio State was not about to let this golden opportunity get away from them.

They responded with a strong drive down the field, resulting in a touchdown by Harrison Jr., tying the game up at 38 all. Utah was looking to respond by taking back the lead in their next possession but was met with Rising being sacked, resulting in him being injured and taken out of play for the rest of the game. After Rising was taken out of the game, the Utes had an unsuccessful drive resulting in them punting the ball away to the Buckeyes.

With a little over eight minutes left in the game, Stroud and the Ohio State offense went on the attack. With less than five minutes left on the clock Stroud connected with Smith-Njigba for a 30-yard touchdown, putting the Buckeyes up for the first time in the night at 45-38. Utah responded with their own drive attacking the end zone.

With just under two minutes left, Utah backup quarterback Bryson Barnes connected with Dalton Kincaid on a beautifully thrown pass in the corner of the end zone, tying this game up at 45. Ohio State got the ball with just under two minutes and they made one final push down the field to get themselves in field goal range. Then with twelve seconds left on the clock, Ohio States’ Noah Ruggles attempts a 19-yard field goal and drills it between the uprights, all but confirming the Buckeyes win over the Utes. Utah tried to make a big play happen on the last kickoff but ended up wasting the last few seconds and ended up losing 48-45.

The Buckeyes came into this game looking like the favorite, but as the first half went on, it looked as if the Utes were the favorites. Ohio State made some big changes at halftime, and that is what helped them eventually take home the Rose Bowl Trophy. Utah was always in a commanding position during the game up until the last quarter. It is possible that the loss of Rising in the fourth was the momentum shift that caused the Utes to flounder the lead that they had. This game had plenty of moments that had fans on the edge of their seats, especially Ohio State fans.

The Buckeye fans’ fear of a loss in such a big moment was palpable through the first half. As the second half moved on, you could feel the fear shifting to the Utah fans. The Utes did an amazing job putting the Buckeyes on their heels and commanding the majority of the game, but in the end, it came down to the wire.

Ohio State never wavered, and they were rewarded big for their determination. Ohio State is the 2022 Rose Bowl Champions. They have their eyes set for the National Championship next year.

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