UTAH UTES

Running Game Could Be Key To Rose Bowl For Utes And Buckeyes

Dec 24, 2021, 12:06 PM | Updated: 12:13 pm
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 27: C.J. Stroud #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes throws a pass in the s...
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 27: C.J. Stroud #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes throws a pass in the second half of the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Rose Bowl matches up two programs in the Utah Utes and Ohio State Buckeyes that are on different end of the spectrum.

The Utes are set to face Ohio State in The Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, CA on Saturday, January 1, 2022.

The Buckeyes finished the 2021 regular season with a 10-2 record but instead of fighting for a berth in the College Football Playoff, a 42-27 loss to the Michigan Wolverines sent them to face the Utes.

For Utah, a dominating late season win over Pac-12 powerhouse Oregon was followed up by an equally dominant Ute win over that same Oregon team in the Pac-12 championship. The win propelled Utah to the first Rose Bowl appearance in program history.

While the Utah program seems ecstatic to be included in the Rose Bowl, the Buckeyes seem more focused on missing out on the chance for a National Championship instead of the opportunity to play in a coveted New Years Six bowl.

According to Bill Landis, Ohio State writer for The Athletic, who spoke with the Hans & Scotty G Show on December 22, Utah is exactly the kind of team that Ohio State has struggled with this season. You can listen to the full interview, below.

“Ohio State’s struggles this year have been running the ball in short yardage situations and stopping the run in similar situations,” Landis said. “Ohio State got pushed around by Michigan in a way I haven’t seen in my time covering the team.”

After some accused Ohio State of being more finesse than physical following that loss to Michigan, the Utes offer quite the test.

In their two losses, Ohio State allowed 566 yards rushing and 28 first downs on the ground. If the Buckeyes can slow down Tavion Thomas, TJ Pledger, Micah Bernard and the occasional Cameron Rising scramble, it would put them in prime position to win the ninth Rose Bowl in program history.

If the Ohio State lines can initiate contact and create physicality, they’ll have an excellent chance at a positive result. On the other hand, if Utah can dictate possession early by establishing the running game, they may be able to take advantage of what Ohio State aims to do.

Utah plays Ohio State on Saturday, January 1 at 3 p.m. (MDT) on ESPN.

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Running Game Could Be Key To Rose Bowl For Utes And Buckeyes