COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Utah, Penn State Are More Alike Than Different

Jan 1, 2023, 5:03 PM

James-Franklin-Penn-State-Football-Team...

Utah football and Penn State football will be meeting for the first time ever at the Rose Bowl on Monday, January 2, 2023. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)

(Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES- No. 8 Utah and No. 11 Penn State are a day away from facing off in the 109th Rose Bowl game and it’s like looking in a mirror. The two opponents are built very similarly and both sides have noted they are more alike than they are different.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by KSL Sports (@kslsports)

Establish the run on offense, stop the run on defense, and use the tight ends is the main formula for the success both teams have had over the years.

Taking A Closer Look At Utah’s Opponent, Penn State

The Nittany Lions have been led by head coach James Franklin since 2014 who holds a 78-36 record at Penn State. Franklin took over the program when it was reeling from the Jerry Sandusky scandal that came down the pipeline in 2013. Since then, Franklin has done a good job of helping to rebuild the reputation and brand of PSU while putting them back in the national scene.

Sean Clifford is the guy under-center for Penn State. The senior quarterback has completed 210 passes for 2,543 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions in his final season with the Nittany Lions. Clifford has also used his legs 61 times for an additional 177 yards and five touchdowns.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Penn State Football (@pennstatefball)

While Clifford can clearly use his legs when he needs to, the Penn State running attack relies on the two-headed monster of Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen. The Nittany Lions’ one, two punch has combined for nearly 2000 yards rushing in 2022. Singleton has powered his way to 941 yards rushing off of 149 attempts with 10 touchdowns to his name while averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Allen on the other hand has racked up 830 yards off of 156 attempts and nine touchdowns. His average per carry is 5.3.

Penn State will unfortunately be out their top wide receiver, Parker Washington, who was lost for the season in November to a season-ending injury. Instead, they will be relying heavily on wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley and their tight end duo, Brenton Strange and Theo Johnson.

Tinsley is nipping at Washington’s heels in production with 45 receptions for 528 yards and four touchdowns. Strange has 32 receptions for 362 yards and five touchdowns, while Johnson has brought in 19 catches for 300 yards and four touchdowns.

Perhaps the most interesting challenge for the Utes on Monday will come from Penn State’s defense which ranks 16th in the country in overall production. The Nittany Lions should be by-and-far the best unit Utah’s 17th ranked offense has faced all season.

A few keys to Penn State’s defensive cog include safety Ji’Ayir Brown and linebackers Abdul Carter, and Curtis Jacobs.

Brown leads the team in tackles with 66 along with three sacks, four passes defended, three interceptions and two forced fumbles. Carter is next with 55 total tackles, an eye-boggling 6.5 sacks, four passes defended, and two forced fumbles. Jacobs comes in with 47 total tackles, two sacks, two passes defended, one pick-six, and one forced fumble.

Much like Utah with Clark Phillips III, PSU will be without their best corner in Joey Porter Jr. who is currently preparing for the 2023 NFL Draft.

 

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

 

  • Utah Utes Scoreboard

  • Utah Utes Team Leaders

  • Utah Utes Standings

College Football

utah state qb cooper legas...

Brian Preece

Utah State QB Cooper Legas Enters NCAA Transfer Portal

Make it two quarterbacks in the spring transfer portal for the Utah State Aggies after Cooper Legas announced his intent to seek other opportunities.

10 hours ago

Rice Eccles Stadium general view at University of Utah - How to watch Utah Football...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Athletics Celebrates Student-Athletes, Teams At Crimson Carpet Awards

Utah Athletics celebrated their stellar student-athletes on Monday, April 15 in their annual Crimson Carpet Awards.

2 days ago

utah state qb mccae hillstead...

Chandler Holt

QB McCae Hillstead Enters NCAA Transfer Portal, Sends Thanks To Utah State

Utah State quarterback McCae Hillstead took to X on Monday to announce his entry into the NCAA transfer portal.

2 days ago

kyle-whittingham-during-utah-football-spring-game-2024...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Football Shares Transfer Portal Wish List

Utah football wrapped up their spring practices over the weekend and now the spring NCAA Transfer Portal season is upon us.

2 days ago

BYU Football, Transfer Portal, Kalani Sitake...

Mitch Harper

Where BYU Football Can Boost Roster During Spring Transfer Portal Window

Taking a dive into the positions that could use a transfer portal boost on BYU football's roster.

2 days ago

Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters, BYU Football, New Mexico...

Mitch Harper

Former BYU QB Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters Finds New Home In Transfer Portal

Former New Mexico Bowl MVP is returning to the Land of Enchantment.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Utah, Penn State Are More Alike Than Different