Penn State-Utah is the likely Rose Bowl matchup for this season.
Over the week, the possibility of Penn State playing in the Rose Bowl became increasingly likely.
With the program less than 48 hours from finding out its fate, it now knows that, if it indeed is playing in “The Grandaddy of Them All,” Utah will be its opponent.
Utah upset No. 4 USC and took both the PAC-12 Championship and the chance to play in the College Football Playoff away from the Trojans with a 47-24 win. Utah (10-3) is responsible for both of USC’s (11-2) losses this season and its Utah’s second straight PAC-12 title.
Now, it appears Ohio State, who is No. 5 in the College Football Playoff rankings, will make it into the Playoff, joining No. 2 Michigan, so long as Michigan beats Purdue in Saturday’s Big Ten Championship. The only thing that would get in the way of a Penn State-Utah Rose Bowl is Purdue beating Michigan, thus winning the Big Ten and going to California.
It looked like USC was going to run away with it when it went ahead 17-3 early in the second quarter. But the Utes scored two touchdowns before halftime and went into the break tied at 17.
Utah went ahead for the first time in the third quarter on a 57-yard touchdown pass from Cam Rising to Money Parks. Parks finished the night with 88 yards and the score on four catches. After Utah added a field goal to go up by 10, USC responded with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Williams to Mario Williams. But Utah answered in a big way with a 60-yard touchdown pass from Rising to Thomas Yassmin. The Utes then firmly took command with 5:29 left on a 53-yard run by Ja’Quinden Jackson. Utah’s defense ensured there’d be no comeback, and the Utes added a score for good measure.
Rising went 22-34 with 310 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Jackson rushed for 105 yards on 13 carries and scored twice.
Penn State will find out its bowl fate for sure Sunday afternoon. The world will find out the Playoff rankings starting at 12:15, and the rest of the top 25, as well as the New Year’s Six Bowl pairings, will be revealed at 2:30.