Utah Football’s History Facing Heisman Trophy Finalists
SALT LAKE CITY – When the Utah football team takes the field in the Rose Bowl on January 1, they will be facing a Heisman Trophy finalist in Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud.
C.J. Stroud finished fourth in the 2021 Heisman Trophy voting with Alabama star QB Bryce Young taking home the award. Stroud is the fifth player that Utah will face since 2005 that was a finalist for college football’s highest individual award. It’s the first time in the Kyle Whittingham era that Utah will face a Heisman Trophy finalist in a bowl game.
Here is a list of the Heisman Trophy Finalists that Utah has seen in the Kyle Whittingham era. This is only considering facing the finalists in the same season that they were named a finalist and were in the top five in voting.
Marqise Lee, USC – 2012
Utah hosted Marqise Lee and the USC Trojans on October 4, 2012. Lee finished with 12 receptions for 192 yards and one touchdown, while also racking up an 11-yard run. The Trojans beat the Utes 38-28 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Lee finished fourth in the Heisman voting after piling up 118 catches for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns that season. Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel took the award in 2012.
Marcus Mariota, Oregon – 2014
On November 8, 2014, Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks came in to Salt Lake City and beat the Utes 51-27. Mariota completed 17 of his 29 pass attempts for 239 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 114 yards and another score.
Mariota won the Heisman Trophy after racking up 4,454 yards, 42 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Oregon went to the National Championship game that season before losing to Urban Meyer and Ohio State.
Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota was nothing but a playmaker for @oregonfootball 🙌 pic.twitter.com/NytanLvmqX
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) June 25, 2020
Bryce Love, Stanford – 2017
The Utes hosted Bryce Love and Stanford on October 7, 2017. Stanford pulled out a 23-20 win over Utah. Love finished with 152 rushing yards and one touchdown in the win.
Love finished second in the Heisman voting, behind Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield. he had 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2017.
Gardner Minshew, Washington State – 2018
Utah went to the Pullman to battle Gardner Minshew and Washington State on September 29, 2018. WSU sneaked past the Utes with a 28-24 win. Minshew completed 31 of his 56 pass attempts for 445 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Minshew finished fifth in the Heisman voting as Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray took home the award.
Utah will face C.J. Stroud and Ohio State on Saturday, January 1, 2022 at 3 p.m. MT on ESPN.
Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.
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