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Penn State to Play Utah in 109th Rose Bowl Game

Jarrod Prugar

It’s felt inevitable for several days and became a virtual lock over the weekend, and now, Penn State-Utah is this season’s official Rose Bowl matchup.

This will be Penn State’s fifth appearance in “The Granddaddy of them all” and the second of the James Franklin era.

Penn State’s last trip to the Rose Bowl came under Franklin in 2016, when the team got there by winning the Big Ten.

This will be the second time Penn State has played in the Rose Bowl without winning its conference. Penn State was an independent in 1922 and won the Big Ten in 1994, 2008 and 2016. This year’s Big Ten champ, Michigan, and the second-highest-ranked Big Ten team, Ohio State, are two of the four teams in the College Football Playoff. Penn State is 1-3 all-time in Rose Bowl games, with all three losses coming to USC.

The program’s only Rose Bowl win took place in 1994 when Penn State capped off its most recent undefeated season by beating Oregon 38-20.

Both Penn State, which came in at No. 11 in the latest College Football Playoff Rankings, and Utah, which is No. 8, played in instant classics the last time they were in the Rose Bowl. Utah, which earned a trip to the game last season by winning its first PAC-12 Championship, fell to Ohio State, 48-45. In its most recent Rose Bowl appearance, Penn State lost to USC, 52-49. It will be Utah’s second trip to the Rose Bowl Game and will be the first meeting between the two schools. After Jan. 2, Penn State will have played every PAC-12 school.

Utah has yet to play Maryland, Michigan State, Purdue and Rutgers.

This 109th Rose Bowl Game is scheduled to kick off at 5 p.m. ET Monday, Jan. 2. Penn State and Utah won’t play it on New Year’s Day due to a long-standing policy of the Rose Bowl never being played on a Sunday. Ironically, the last Rose Bowl not played on New Year’s Day also involved Penn State. The most recent Penn State-USC Rose Bowl happened Jan. 2, 2017.

**Correction: An earlier version of this article said that Penn State-Utah will be the 108th Rose Bowl game. It will be the 109th. 

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