By: Gary George, IVN Sports Columnist
Pasadena, California – The 108th Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One Venture X on New Year’s day was a contest of epic proportion. This game between the Ohio State Buckeyes (No. 6 CFP, 10-2 Big Ten co-champions), and Utah Utes (No. 11 CFP, 10-3, Pac-12 champions) was a fast pace high scoring battle. The coaching leadership was led by Ryan Day for the Buckeyes and Kyle Whittingham for the Utes. The quarterback matchup was between C.J. Shroud (Heisman Trophy finalist) for the Buckeyes, and Cameron Rising for the Utes. Both quarterbacks would showcase their skills in the “Granddaddy of them All,” at the Rose Bowl.
The Utes won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball first. Although they did not score, they came out very strong to set their game tempo and would score on their next possession. Rising would connect with British Covey and Micah Bernard in the first quarter to take a 14-0 lead. Shroud got going in the second quarter with a touchdown pass to Marvin Harrison Jr., and two to Jaxon Smith-Njigba for a 21-point performance. However, the Utes would not let up, as they scored 21 points in the second quarter as well. Their scoring: Tavion Thomas scored on a 6-yard run, Britain Covey had a 97-yard kickoff return, and Rising added a 62-yard run. The Utes took the first half lead 38-21.
At the start of the third quarter, Shroud was attempting to score a touchdown, however his effort was picked off in the end zone by Clark Phillips III. The Bucks were soon back in business as Bryson Shaw recovered a fumble by Michael Williams on the 11-yard line.
The connection between Shroud and Harrison Jr. with an 8-yard pass to draw closer, 28-35. Both teams would add field goals and ended the quarter, 38-31.
In the final quarter, the Bucks had the momentum and overtook the Utes with touchdowns by Harrison Jr. and Smith-Njigba.
Things were looking good for the Bucks with a 7-point lead and Rising out of the game with an injury.
However, Bryson Barnes stepped in at quarterback and tied the game with a 15-yard pass to Dalton Kincade, 45 all.
The Bucks would take a 3-point lead with 19-yard field goal by Noah Ruggles. With seconds remaining, the Utes kickoff return by Covey was stopped: victory to the Bucks, 48-45.
For the 87,842 fans in attendance, they got their money’s worth with the nonstop athletic entertainment. This game was an offensive showcase of exploits, at the expense of the valiant defensive efforts. Many record-setting accolades were achieved in this RBG performance. Shroud passed for 573 yards and 6 TD’s, a single game school record while giving God all the glory.