- #6 Ohio State is a 4.5-point favorite over #11 Utah in the Rose Bowl on Saturday
- Utah is on a six-game winning streak
- A look at the matchup and odds can be found below with a pick
A Rose Bowl veteran meets a newbie when #6 Ohio State faces #11 Utah at 5:00 p.m. ET Saturday in Pasadena.
Ohio State (10-2) will be playing in its 16th Rose Bowl, while Utah (10-3) will be appearing for the first time after winning its first-ever Pac-12 title.
The Buckeyes are coming off a 42-27 loss at Michigan in the regular season finale that ended their shot at a fifth straight Big Ten championship. Utah (10-3) is on a six-game winning streak that includes routing Oregon 38-10 in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Ohio State is favored in the game, which will be broadcast by ESPN.
Utah vs Ohio State Odds
|Utah||+148||+4.5 (-114)||Over 64 (-110)|
|Ohio State||-184||-4.5 (-106)||Under 64 (-110)|
Odds as of December 30th at FanDuel
Ohio State opened as a seven-point favorite, but the line has dropped following a series of opt outs. It will be an unseasonably cool day with the forecast calling for a high temperature of 57 with plenty of sun and wind from the northeast at 5 mph.
Since starting the season 1-2, Utah has won nine of 10 games. That has landed the Utes in their first New Year’s Six bowl since appearing in the Sugar Bowl following the 2009 season.
Utah has a touchdown-scoring machine in running back Tavion Thomas, whose 20 scores on the ground are third in the nation. Thomas has 1,041 yards on 186 carries in his first season since transferring from Cincinnati.
TAVION THOMAS FOUR 1ST HALF TDs#CFB
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) November 6, 2021
Cameron Rising is completing 62.8% of his passes for 2,279 yards and 18 touchdowns with five interceptions. Utah’s top receiver is Brant Kuithe with 44 catches for 534 yards and six TDs.
That trio has helped Utah score 35.5 points a game, which ranks 15th nationally.
Utes linebacker Devin Lloyd is one of the top defensive players in the country and will play a key role in trying to stop Ohio State’s high-powered offense. The Utes have held four of its last five opponents to 13 points or less.
Lloyd has 22.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions. That makes him the only FBs player with at least 14.5 TFL and multiple picks in 2021.
Lloyd is considered a surefire first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Being at the PAC-12 championship in Las Vegas was incredible, especially compared to Santa Clara two years ago. The stadium was nearly sold out, with the raucous crowd heavily favoring Utah. As Devin Lloyd ran this back, Allegiant erupted, seeing that history was on the horizon pic.twitter.com/YPRh9yeZF0
— Ed 🌹🌹🌹 PAC-12 Champions (@GreatBasinExp57) December 26, 2021
Britain Covey is dangerous on special teams as he has run back two punts for touchdowns and is averaging 14.7 yards a return.
Can Ohio State Overcome the Opt Outs?
Ohio State leads the nation with 45.5 points and 551.4 total yards a game and is led by dynamic freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud.
He is the first player to win both the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors and be selected the first-team all-conference QB in the same year. Stroud finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
C.J. Stroud had a ridiculous first half performance: 29-31, 393 pass yards and 6 touchdowns 😳 pic.twitter.com/C1row39Vz6
— ESPN (@espn) November 20, 2021
Stroud has thrown for 35 touchdowns and been intercepted just five times. He has 3,862 yards and a 70.9 completion percentage.
Stroud will be without wide receivers Chris Olave (13) and Garrett Wilson (12), who have combined for 25 touchdown receptions this season. Both opted out of the game to prepare for the draft along with offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere and defensive lineman Haskell Garrett.
However, Ohio State still has Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who has 80 catches for 1,259 yards and six scores. His receiving yards place him 13th nationally.
The Buckeyes feature one of the most dynamic running backs in college football in freshman TreVeyon Henderson.
TreVeyon Henderson is the fastest man alive
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) November 13, 2021
He has rushed for 1,172 yards and 15 touchdowns, which ranks 12th in FBS, while also catching 23 passes for 285 yards and four TDs.
Utah vs Ohio State Rose Bowl Prediction
The motivation level in this game is seemingly much higher for Utah. The Utes have achieved a significant milestone in program history with their trip to Pasadena while the Buckeyes had their sights set on a berth in the College Football Playoff.
Yet Ohio State still has a massive amount of talent on its roster and that factor can’t be overlooked. The only time the schools met, Ohio State rolled to a 64-6 win in 1986 at home. This game won’t be that lopsided, but the Buckeyes still have enough to cover the spread.
- The Pick: Ohio State -4.5 (-106)