No. 7 Utah goes head-to-head with No. 9 Penn State in the Rose Bowl on Monday as two of the best teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten do battle. The Utes needed tiebreakers to earn a trip to the Pac-12 Championship Game but smacked USC 47-24 to win the league for the second consecutive season. Prior to this run, the Utes had never won the Pac-12 since moving into the league in 2011.
Penn State got back to its winning ways under James Franklin, reaching the 10-win plateau for the first time since 2019. Prior to a bizarre 11-11 stretch over the past two seasons, the Nittany Lions reached three New Year’s Six bowls in the previous four seasons. Penn State beat every unranked team on its schedule but lost to CFP participants Ohio State and Michigan by a combined 37 points.
Utah played in the Rose Bowl last season, losing a 48-45 shootout against Ohio State. Penn State similarly played a banger in its last Rose Bowl, losing 52-49 against USC during the 2016 season in one of the most exciting Rose Bowls ever. Expect some fireworks as these two programs clash for the first time in history.
Follow along with live updates: Penn State vs. Utah in the 2023 Rose Bowl
How to watch the Rose Bowl live
Dating: Monday, Jan. 2 | Hour: 5 p.m. ET
Location: Rose Bowl — Pasadena, California
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Penn State vs. Utah: Need to know
Experienced QBs: Few games in college football feature the level of experience at quarterback than the Rose Bowl will on Monday. Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford has thrown for more than 10,000 yards and 84 touchdowns during a five-year career finally capped off with a trip to the Rose Bowl. Cameron Rising has only started two years for Utah but has 45 touchdown passes and 12 touchdown runs of his own over the past two seasons. The quarterbacks make these units go. The Rose Bowl should feature high-level college quarterback play.
star runners: Penn State boasts one of the most exciting young backfields in the nation. Freshman running backs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen combined for 1,771 yards and 19 touchdowns during sensational debut seasons and provided a spark of life for a Nittany Lions running game that has been inconsistent since Miles Sanders left. The offensive line is still somewhat inconsistent blocking for the run, but the dynamic pairing of running backs will be a unique challenge for Utah’s defense.
Next man up: Utah entered the 2022 season with the best combination of tight ends this side of Georgia. After senior Brant Kuithe suffered a season-ending ACL tear, Dalton Kincaid emerged as the best tight end in the Pac-12 and a legitimate All-America contender. Unfortunately for Utah, Kincaid opted out of the Rose Bowl after dealing with injuries during the latter half of the season. Utah’s tight end factory will be put to the test. Australian Thomas Yassmin posted 300 yards and five touchdowns in relief of Kincaid, including 81 yards and a touchdown in the Pac-12 title game. Senior Logan Kendall could also get into the mix after catching a touchdown against Stanford. Kyle Whittingham always has his tight ends ready, but this will be a unique challenge.
Rose Bowl prediction, picks
Featured Game | Utah Utes vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Despite an impressive 10-win campaign, Penn State is relatively unproven against the elite of college football with zero wins over ranked opponents. Utah hasn’t been perfect with narrow losses to UCLA and Oregon, but the Utes did not flinch when faced with superior athleticism against USC. Whittingham has never won a Rose Bowl, and this may very well be his moment. Prediction: Utah -2
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