Utah faces Penn State as the sun sets on a Rose Bowl era

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — The solar often units behind Arroyo Seco late within the third quarter of the Rose Bowl. The second is usually spectacular, with clouds turning pink and orange whereas the San Gabriel Mountains gentle up in dazzling reds and yellows amid the dying rays.

The solar can also be setting on an period of Rose Bowl historical past Monday when No. 7 Utah (10-3, No. 8 CFP) faces No. 9 Penn State (10-2, No. 11 CFP).

“We’re taking part in within the final, I assume, conventional Rose Bowl,” Penn State defensive deal with Nick Tarburton stated.

The 109th version of the Granddaddy of Them All is the final that is assured to function the sport’s time-honored pairing of Pac-12 and Massive Ten groups. The sport’s standing as a Faculty Soccer Playoff semifinal subsequent season and the expanded playoff in 2024 has put the longer term in flux for the game’s oldest lively bowl recreation.

“If certainly this does turn into the final historically slotted Rose Bowl, it’s an excellent honor to be part of that, and we wish to do it proud,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham stated.

For such a tradition-rich sporting occasion, this uncertainty is uncommon — however not truly unprecedented, as identified by Laura Farber, the chair of the Rose Bowl Administration Committee.

Whereas the Rose Bowl is a nationwide New Yr’s Day establishment, kicked off by the famed Rose Parade and persevering with to the two p.m. kickoff that results in these well-known sunsets, the massive recreation has been performed on days apart from Jan. 1 — together with this yr as a result of New Yr’s Day falls on a Sunday — and featured all types of geographical matchups over the a long time, significantly in its first half-century of existence when Ivy League squads and Southern powers usually made the journey.

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“It is actually arduous to say what the longer term holds, as a result of no one is aware of,” Farber stated. “What’s attention-grabbing is studying to steadiness between custom and innovation, and being versatile and embracing the modifications, as a result of there’s been hyper-speed modifications for the previous yr in faculty soccer, the previous few years, actually. We have needed to be versatile, but remind all people how a lot this recreation means to so many individuals.”


This Pac-12/Massive Ten matchup has every part essential to exit with a bang.

Each applications are repeat guests to Pasadena, with constant monitor information of success beneath two outstanding, revered coaches who by no means have received the Rose Bowl. The Utes received the Pac-12 and reached Pasadena for the second straight yr in one other excessive level on their spectacular journey to nationwide prominence, whereas the Nittany Lions misplaced solely to playoff-bound Michigan and Ohio State in one other double-digit win marketing campaign.

The Rose Bowl marks the primary assembly between the colleges. Utah is the one Pac-12 faculty the Nittany Lions have by no means confronted.

“I believe there’s a whole lot of similarities between our applications and the way they’re constructed,” Penn State coach James Franklin stated. “(Utah is a) fundamentalist program, powerful, sound. We’re taking part in very well on protection and have been all yr lengthy. I believe they’ve been constructed together with his (Whittingham) background on the defensive aspect of the ball as effectively. However I believe their quarterback actually makes them go. I’ve received a ton of respect for him.”

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Utah quarterback Cameron Rising might be ending his faculty profession with yet another recreation in his native Southern California, however the Ventura County product is not considering forward to the NFL simply but. He handed for profession highs of two,939 yards and 25 touchdowns this season, capped by a stellar three-TD effort within the Utes’ convention title recreation win over USC.

Rising additionally has redemption on his thoughts: He received injured whereas final season’s Rose Bowl was tied with about 10 minutes to play, and Ohio State rallied for a 48-45 win even after Rising’s backup, Bryson Barnes, led a TD drive.

“We’re joyful to be again, however we’ve got unfinished enterprise we wish to go get finished this time,” Rising stated. “I keep in mind seeing (Ohio State) have a good time and have the ceremony proper after, and seeing that after I walked off the sphere. That’s been engraved in my head ever since, and I wish to be on the opposite aspect of it now.”


Quarterback Sean Clifford is a sixth-year senior taking part in in his 51st recreation for Penn State. He’s the college’s profession chief in yards passing and TDs, however he’s seeking to cap his profession with what may be his largest victory.

Clifford has only one bowl win on his resume: a 53-39 win over Memphis within the 2019 Cotton Bowl by which he handed for under 133 yards.

“When the lights are shining the brightest, you’ve received to carry out at your highest stage,” Clifford stated. “It’s simply taking all of it in whenever you first run out, being on the market for a second or two, after which it’s about successful the sport.”

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Each groups might be lacking key gamers who skipped Pasadena to organize for the NFL draft.

Penn State might be with out cornerback Joey Porter Jr., a second-team All-American and shutdown defender on the perimeter, whereas Utah will not have its first-team All-American cornerback, Clark Phillips III. The Utes are also with out tight finish Dalton Kincaid, who had a whopping 70 catches for a team-leading 890 yards and eight TDs, and main rusher Tavion Thomas.


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