Utah football built a big lead early against Ohio State but the Buckeyes fought back in the Rose Bowl. What did we learn from this one?
Racing out to a two-touchdown lead early on, it looked like Utah football was actually going to shock the Buckeyes to win their first Rose Bowl in school history.
Ohio State bounced back from a two-touchdown deficit in the third quarter to beat Utah and earn yet another Rose Bowl victory. Utah was denied the program’s biggest win in years, but there’s no denying that Kyle Whittingham had an incredible season with the Utes.
What did we win from this tough loss to Ohio State?
3. Defense was optional
This game was like a track meet early on. The score was 35-21 in the second quarter before both defenses kind of settled down going into halftime. Ohio State came out in the second half and scored a touchdown quickly and then it was back-and-forth before the Buckeyes pulled off the win.
Ohio State wasn’t playing defense from the get-go, giving up over 450 total yards and 45 points to an offense that hadn’t exactly been lighting up the scoreboard this season. Sure, Cameron Rising and Tavion Thomas were solid all year, but Ohio State has shut down better offenses and the lack of defense was surprising.
On the other side, Utah had been known for its defense all year and shut down Oregon twice to end the season before earning a Rose Bowl berth for the first time in school history. They could not seem to guard Jaxon Smith-Njigba who had nearly 350 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 15 receptions.
Defense was optional all game long as there were over 1,000 total yards and 93 points scored.