OSU beats Utah in Rose Bowl as Smith-Njigba, Stroud have record games


The 2022 Rose Bowl lived up to expectations -- and then some. 

Ohio State kicker Noah Ruggles hit a 19-yard field goal with nine seconds left to lift the Buckeyes to a 48-45 win over the Utah Utes. The Buckeyes rallied from a 35-21 deficit at the half to secure the win. 

The victory came on the shoulders of record performances by QB C.J. Stroud and wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The sophomore wideout had 15 catches for 347 yards and three touchdowns, which broke a number of school and bowl records. 

Smith-Njigba now owns the record for the most receiving yards in any bowl game in college football history, in addition to the Rose Bowl record for receptions, while in a tie for the record for receiving touchdowns. He also set the Ohio State single-game receiving-yard record. 

Oh, and to top it off, his 347 yards gave him a total of 1,606 receiving yards for the season, breaking David Boston's previous single-season school record of 1,435 yards that he set in 1998.

Stroud, a redshirt freshman, threw for 573 yards on 37-of-46 passing with six touchdowns and an interception. He set a new career-high in passing yards and his six touchdowns tied his career-high he set earlier this season, and broke the Rose Bowl record for passing yards and touchdowns. His 573 yards are also the third-most in any bowl game in college football history. 

The Buckeyes QB found success despite being without top receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, who both decided to opt-out of the bowl game. 

After Utah built a 14-0 lead after the first quarter, the teams exchanged three touchdowns apiece in the second quarter, giving the Utes a 35-21 lead at halftime. 

Ohio State got an early third-quarter touchdown from Stroud to Marvin Harrison Jr. to bring the Buckeyes to within a touchdown before each team kicked field goals, giving Utah a 38-31 heading into the final 15 minutes. 

However, the Buckeyes took over in the final quarter, with back-to-back touchdowns to Harrison Jr. and Smith-Njigba to put them ahead 45-38. Utah knotted the game up with 1:54 left, but that left enough time for Ohio State to drive down and kick the game-winning field goal. 

Harrison Jr., the son of legend Marvin Harrison, had an excellent performance of his own, grabbing six catches for 71 yards and three touchdowns in his first bowl game. OSU running back TreVeyon Henderson finished the day with 83 rushing yards on 17 carries. 

For Utah, quarterback Cameron Rising completed 17 of his 22 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 92 yards on the ground and a rushing TD. Backup Bryson Barnes had two completions on his two attempts for 23 yards and the game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter. 

Utah finished the season 10-4, while Ohio State grabbed their 11th win of the year. It's their ninth Rose Bowl win in program history. 

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