UTAH UTES

Thomas Yassmin Touchdown Ties Rose Bowl In Second Quarter

Jan 2, 2023, 4:15 PM | Updated: 5:08 pm

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Thomas Yassmin #87 of the Utah Utes scores a touchdown against Abdul Carter #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions during the second quarter in the 2023 Rose Bowl Game at Rose Bowl Stadium on January 02, 2023 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by: Mykal McGrew / KSLSports.com)

(Photo by: Mykal McGrew / KSLSports.com)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah answered a Penn State touchdown drive with a more than seven-minute scoring drive of their own to 7-7 first half tie.

The Utes (10-3, 7-2) are facing the Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2, 7-2) in “The Grandaddy of Them All”, the Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, CA on Monday, January 2.

On first down, Cam Rising dropped back and looked left, finding Thomas Yassmin in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. The touchdown capped a 13-play, 7:12 drive.

Officials reviewed the call but ultimately ruled Yassmin held on long enough for Utah’s first touchdown of 2023.

Rising has gone 5-of-7 for 20 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the first half. Yassmin’s touchdown catch was has first reception of the game.

RELATED: 2023 Rose Bowl Game – No. 11 Penn State Vs. No. 8 Utah: Live Updates, Analysis, More

Previewing Penn State Nittany Lions

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.

RELATED: PK: Looking At Future Of Utah Football Past Rose Bowl Game

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.

RELATED: Utah, Penn State Are More Alike Than Different

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.

Moment of Loudness

Ahead of their big matchup with No. 11 Penn State, No. 8 Utah football announced Sunday evening the “Moment of Loudness” would take place in the 109th Rose Bowl Game. The “Moment of Loudness” has become an integral tradition for the Utes over the past two seasons as a way for the team and fans to honor running back Ty Jordan and cornerback Aaron Lowe who tragically passed away during the 2021 season.

The “Moment of Loudness” has recently evolved in the 2022 football season to include all beloved members of the Utah football family who are no longer with us.

The Utes featured the “Moment of Loudness” in last season’s Rose Bowl debut against Ohio State to rave reviews.  With plans of doing the same thing, the Utah football Twitter account said the event will take place in the 3rd quarter during the fourth break, or in the 4th quarter during the first break.

Before the Utes arrived in Los Angeles, the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation funded two bricks to be laid outside of the Rose Bowl in front of the iconic logo in honor of Jordan and Lowe and what they have meant to the Utes as well as the Rose Bowl itself.

Neither player was able to be part of Utah’s first Rose Bowl Game, but both had unwavering belief the Utes would play in the legendary game one day before their shocking deaths.

RELATED: ‘Moment Of Loudness’ To Take Place During Rose Bowl

How To Watch

The 109th Rose Bowl is televised on ESPN. Fans can follow here for live updates and analysis from the Michelle Bodkin and the KSL Sports team.

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Thomas Yassmin Touchdown Ties Rose Bowl In Second Quarter