Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (son of NFL great Marvin Harrison Sr.) catches one of his three touchdowns against Utah in 48-45 victory (Photo courtesy of Robert Attical, BVN).

Last Updated on January 15, 2022 by BVN

Jon Gaede | Black Voice News

OSU and Utah combined for 650 yards of total offense at the half

Just after Grand Marshal Levar Burton made the traditional coin toss, the Utes and Buckeyes started writing an engaging script that would ultimately become a very memorable Rose Bowl game. The evenly matched teams engaged in a back and forth offensive exchange that would produce 93 total points and several other all-time Rose Bowl records.

Utah quarterback Cameron Rising established a balanced attack from the outset, then fired a 19-yard strike to wide receiver Britain Covey for an early 7-0 lead. Rising, a Southern California native, transferred from Texas to play for Coach Kyle Whittingham. He completed 63% of his passes for 18 touchdowns on the year.

The Buckeyes, led by former Rancho Cucamonga quarterback CJ Stroud and a nation leading 561 yards of offense per game, sputtered in that first quarter as Rising hit Micah Bernard in the corner of the end zone, to put his Utes up 14-0.

Utah offensive lineman Sataoa Laumea (Rialto-Eisenhower HS) blocks a Buckeye pass rusher in his Rose Bowl debut (Photo courtesy of Robert Attical, BVN).

Utah dominates first quarter, until Rancho Cucamonga’s CJ Stroud delivered

It didn’t take long for sensational Buckeye Freshman CJ Stroud to show off the strength and extreme accuracy of his throwing arm. On fourth and short, Stroud threw a laser-like over the shoulder pass to Marvin Harrison Jr. for a 25-yard score, cutting the Ute lead to 14-7. Harrison is the son of former NFL and Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison Sr. Stroud has established himself as a prolific passer all year, with 4,400 yards and 44 touchdowns.

Utah then marched 79 yards on just nine plays to increase their lead by two touchdowns, 21-7. Stroud showed off his accurate arm once again, with a 50-yard precision throw to Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The Buckeyes closed the deficit to 21-14, however, on the ensuing kickoff, Utah Senior Britain Covey ran the ball back all the way for a 97-yard score, regaining a two touchdown lead, 28-14. Smith-Njigba then scored again on a 52 yard catch to bring Ohio State within seven at 28-21.

Athletic Ute QB Rising averages over ten yards per quarterback scramble on the season

Ohio State freshman star quarterback CJ Stroud (Rancho Cucamonga HS) passed for a Rose Bowl record 571 yards and 6 touchdowns (Photo courtesy of Robert Attical, BVN).

With 6:35 remaining in the first half, Utah had a fourth and one at their own 38. On a quarterback keeper, Cameron Rising, 6’2” 220 lbs., spun his body, broke through several Buckeye tackles and galloped on a 62-yard signature touchdown run to extend the Ute lead again, 35-21.

Cameron Rising put Utah ahead in that first half with both his arm and his legs. Rose Bowl fans were treated to a full plate of offense in 24 minutes. Combined, the Buckeyes and Utes scored 56-points on 650 yards of total offense in that first half alone.

Utah fan support was well over 50,000, as their relentless energy certainly kept the Utes in the game throughout.

Stroud’s canon arm took over the game in fourth, throwing six touch-down passes overall

CJ Stroud proudly hold the “Rose Bowl Trophy” after leading his Ohio State Buckeye team over Utah 48-45 in the Grandaddy on January 1st (Photo courtesy of Robert Attical, BVN).

Stroud connected with Harrison early in the fourth quarter for his third touchdown, knotting the game at 38-38. Utah’s quarterback Rising suffered an unfortunate late concussion and never returned. Stroud then threw his Rose Bowl record sixth touchdown pass to Smith-Njigba (MVP), putting OSU ahead 45-38. Never say die Utah roared right back to tie the score again at 45-45. In the end, Stroud guided the Buckeye offense all the way to the Utah 10-yard line, where OSU’s Noah Ruggles kicked the game winning field goal as time ran out, preserving the 48-45 victory.

If you went to the concession stand, you likely missed a few scores!

From the outset, the 108th Rose Bowl Game was pure entertainment. Both schools brought passion, phenomenal skill and fast paced high scoring offensive machines to Pasadena. The ESPN national audience and those lucky enough to have been there, will always remember. Ohio State’s Freshman quarterback CJ Stroud was simply phenomenal, passing for 571 yards and six touchdowns, both Rose Bowl records. Utah was an outstanding PAC 12 opponent, leading by 14 at the half, stretching the lead to 21 until the Buckeyes made their comeback. 93 points. 1,146 total offense, 91,000 in attendance and nothing short of a Rose Bowl classic.

Jon Gaede

While on assignment for GamePro Magazine in 1996, Jon Gaede met former Black Voice Sports Editor, Leland Stein at a Los Angeles Lakers’ game. They formed a working relationship which has endured for 24 years. In addition to African safaris, theater productions, Footsteps to Freedom Tours with Black Voice News Publisher Emeritus Cheryl Brown, concerts and portraits, Jon’s true passion comes from shooting action sports images. Jon has covered a variety of prep, collegiate and professional sports from track & field to boxing, including six Olympic Games.