Freshmen Backs Lead Penn State
Both Penn State and Utah tend to get overlooked by teams in their own conferences but when it comes to playing physical football, both the Nittany Lions and Utes are ready to rumble.
Penn State led Ohio State and Michigan early in the second half before fading last. Still, the only two losses coming to teams in the College Football Playoff field is an impressive achievement.
Utah’s three losses came by a total of 16 points to Florida, UCLA and Oregon.
Penn State won’t have receiver Parker Washington for the Rose Bowl as he opted out of the game as did cornerback Joey Porter Jr. so the Nittany Lions will be missing key players on both sides of the ball.
Utah will be missing some vital cogs as well. Cornerback Clark Phillips (6 interceptions), leading rusher Tavion Thomas (687 rushing yards) and star tight end Dalton Kincaid (70 catches) all opted out.
There has been little line movement for this game with Penn State continuing to be a slight favorite according to the sportsbook. The total opened at 51 and with the majority of the money coming in on over, the total moved to 52½.
Utah is playing in the Rose Bowl for the second year in a row after falling to Ohio State in a wild 48-45 affair in the Jan. 1, 2022. contest. Penn State is 1-3 in its four previous appearances in the Rose Bowl with all three losses coming to Southern California.
Five of the last six Rose Bowls finished as one-score games.
Utah finished eighth in the College Football Playoff rankings while Penn State ended up 11th. Utah was seventh in the Associated Press poll and 10th in the American Football Coaches Association rankings. Penn State comes in seventh in the coaches’ poll and ninth in the AP rankings.
Let’s check the latest college football odds, stats, injury reports and college football lines for the Rose Bowl. We’ve plenty of NCAA football odds for you to consider.
Freshmen Hit the Ground Running
The last time a Penn State freshman ran for more than 1,000 yards was in 2015 when Saquon Barkley, currently the fourth-leading rusher in the NFL, accomplished the feat. Nicholas Singleton needs 59 yards and Kaytron Allen 170 to get there.
Singleton got off to a strong start with more than 100 yards in two of his last three games. He was pretty quiet against Michigan and Ohio State as he ran for 64 yards on 20 carries in those two games.
Allen had less than 10 carries in four of the Nittany Lions’ first six games. He was used more often during the second half of the season as he had six touchdown runs over the last seven games.
They will be facing the top-rated rushing defense in the Pac-12 as the Utes allowed 107 rushing yards per game.
Penn State is 5-0-1 against the Las Vegas odds in its last six games.
Dialing Up the Pressure
Running the ball might be the way to go for Penn State considering that Utah is tied for 10th nationally with 38 sacks. The Utes tied their season high with seven sacks in the Pac-12 title game.
Utah is a hard defense to prepare for. Seven players have at least three sacks, led by Gabe Reid’s 5½.
Mohamoud Diabate and Reid have combined for 22½ tackles for loss. Diabate is among the draft prospects on the talented defense.
LET’S GO @MDiabate11 https://t.co/p9hWiAtTq5
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) December 13, 2022
Not having Phillips is a big blow as he had six pass breakups to go with his six interceptions. Utah did allow 381 and 363 passing yards in the two games against USC and there has been a month for the Utes to tighten things up.
The most impressive aspect of Utah’s defensive effort this season is that 13 of the 18 players with at least 10 tackles are either freshmen or sophomores.
Utah has covered against the college football odds in four of its last five games.
Penn State vs Utah Game Injuries
Penn State vs Utah Head-to-Head
This will be the first meeting between Penn State and Utah.
Penn State is facing a Pac-12 team for the first time since a 35-28 win over Washington in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl.
Utah is meeting a team from the Big Ten in a bowl game for the fourth time in the last eight seasons. The Utes are 1-2 in those games with the win coming against Indiana in the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl.
Penn State vs Utah Information
- Game: Penn State (10-2) vs Utah (10-3)
- When: Monday, Jan. 2, 5 p.m. ET
- Location: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
- Penn State vs Utah Live Stream: ESPN
Penn State vs Utah Betting Lines
Penn State vs Utah Picks & Prediction
It would have been fun to see these teams go head-to-head with all the key players on the field.
Still, both teams have veteran quarterbacks to lead them. Utah’s Cameron Rising has six touchdown passes and no interceptions in his last two games while Penn State’s Sean Clifford had six TD passes and no interceptions over his last three games.
Utah is outscoring teams 25.1-11.5 in the second quarter of games. Penn State has an almost identical scoring margin in the second and third quarters so it will be intriguing to see which team heads to the fourth quarter with the lead.
Penn State is second in the Big Ten in turnover margin and in the percentage of touchdowns scored on red-zone possessions. Utah counters with the best third-down defense in the Pac-12.
Utah has dropped its last three bowl games with two of those losses against Big Ten teams. Penn State is just 2-4 over its last six bowl games. However, four of the last five did go over the total.
The Penn State Nittany Lions are listed at +110 in our Vegas college football lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Nittany Lions, you have a chance to win $110. The Utah Utes are -130, offering a chance to win $77 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Penn State a 47.62% chance to win, with Utah at 56.52%.