The matchup for the 109th Rose Bowl Game is set.
No. 8 Utah will face No. 11 Penn State in the Granddaddy of Them All on Jan. 2, 2023 in Pasadena, Calif.
It will be the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
Utah, the Pac-12 champion, received an automatic berth in the Rose Bowl for the second year in a row. The Utes (10-3, 7-2 Pac-12) beat the then-No. 4 USC Trojans 47-24 on Friday night in the Pac-12 championship.
Penn State (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) punched its ticket to the Rose Bowl by being the highest-ranked non-playoff team in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions’ only two losses this season came to playoff teams Michigan and Ohio State.
The Rose Bowl website states that “should a team from the Big Ten or Pac-12 be selected to play in the College Football Playoff, the Tournament of Roses will traditionally select the next-highest CFP-ranked team from that conference.”
No. 2 Michigan went undefeated and won the Big Ten championship. Utah’s victory over the Trojans in the Pac-12 championship opened up a spot in the College Football Playoff and Ohio State, whose only loss was to Michigan, was selected as the fourth-ranked team in the country.
It’s the second visit to the Rose Bowl for the Utes, who are looking for their first win in the game. Last year’s 48-45 loss to Ohio State was an instant classic.
This is the fifth Rose Bowl appearance for the Nittany Lions. It’s the first appearance since 2017, when USC beat Penn State 52-49. The Nittany Lions are seeking their first Rose Bowl win since 1995, when Penn State beat Oregon 38-20.
Penn State’s offense averages 35.8 points per game, 20th in the NCAA, and the Nittany Lions’ defense allows 18 points per game, 10th in the NCAA.
Senior quarterback Sean Clifford has thrown for 2,543 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. A duel rushing attack leads Penn State on the ground. Freshman Nicholas Singleton has rushed for 941 yards and 10 touchdowns and freshman Kaytron Allen has rushed for 830 yards and nine touchdowns.
On defense, safety Ji’ayir Brown leads the team in tackles (50) and interceptions (3). Linebacker Abdul Carter leads the team in sacks with 6.5.