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Playing in the Rose Bowl was an amazing achievement for Utah’s football program.

In their first appearance in the New Year’s Six bowl game, the Utes played an entertaining, unforgettable game against No. 6 Ohio State before falling 48-45 in the waning seconds.

How long before Utah, the reigning Pac-12 champion, returns to Pasadena for The Granddaddy of Them All?

“We’re optimistic about the future. Can we repeat? I think it’s too early to talk about any of that right now,” coach Kyle Whittingham said after the game. “We do like the level of talent, particularly the young talent on this football team. Looking forward to working with them starting this winter.”

The Utes could be the favorites in the Pac-12 next season, though they will have some voids to fill with the loss of stars like linebacker Devin Lloyd, defensive lineman Mika Tafua, wide receiver/return specialist Britain Covey and offensive lineman Nick Ford.

But, as Whittingham said, his team has loads of young talent returning and even more joining the program. During the coming weeks and months, look for Utah to add to its depth and talent through the transfer portal, like it did a year ago.

Now that the Utes have had a taste of the Rose Bowl, that’s only going to whet their appetite for more.

Numbers game

4:22: Amount of time left in the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl when Ohio State took its first lead against Utah.

87,842: Total attendance at last week’s Rose Bowl, including an estimated 60,000 or more Ute fans.

16.6 million: Viewers tuned in to see the Utes and the Buckeyes, with a peak of 19.7 million viewers over the final minutes of the game on ESPN.

From the archives

Utah Utes get commitment from Florida linebacker Mohamoud Diabate
2022 Rose Bowl between Utah and Ohio State tied for second-most watched game of the college football season

Extra points

  • Kiel McDonald shares message with Utah football community amid reports he is USC-bound (Deseret News)
  • Runnin’ Utes have work to do to become road warriors after getting swept on Oregon trip (Deseret News)
  • Utah Utes DE Xavier Carlton reportedly enters transfer portal (Deseret News)
  • Utah football report card: Offense shines, defense struggles in Rose Bowl loss (Deseret News)
  • The Utes owned the Rose Bowl — until they didn’t (Deseret News)


Comments from Deseret News readers

“Congrats Utes for representing! It was fun to see you everywhere, from Disneyland to the Rose Parade to packing the Rose Bowl. It showed you have a lot of respect for the opportunity. And the players played their hearts out. It’s too bad that an arrogant, disinterested, disrespectful Buckeyes had to win. They didn’t appreciate it like y’all did. I was happy to root for the Utes after all. I’m going to miss Covey, and wish wish wish Belichick will give him a shot ;).”

— FatThor

“Great addition and this kid will benefit greatly from the coaching he’ll get at Utah. Should have immediate impact on the field and glad he committed now so he can join the team as soon as possible. Utah only recruits guys that have shown they have the right tough mentality and view team as family, as evidenced by how he made a responsible post about his transfer. Will be fun to see (Mohamoud Diabate) on the field in Utah red. Yet to be seen if he can fill in for Lloyd. It would be very difficult to transfer in and immediately be the leader that Devin was and the second-best linebacker in all of college football.”

— wwookie 

Up next

Jan. 6 | 7:30 p.m. | Men’s basketball | vs. Washington | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

View Comments

Jan. 7 | Noon | Gymnastics | vs. BYU, Utah State, Southern Utah | @West Valley City | BYUtv

Jan. 8 | 4 p.m. | Men’s basketball | vs. Washington State | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

Jan. 13 | 7 p.m. | Women’s basketball | vs. California | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

Jan. 16 | Noon | Women’s basketball | vs. Stanford | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

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