After all of that, a 19-yard field goal is the difference between Utah and Ohio State.
The Buckeyes marched down the field and finally went up 48-45 with 9 seconds to play. Britain Covey got the ball on the ensuing kickoff but Utah’s magic ran out, losing in their first Rose Bowl appearance.
Utah ties it up
Bryson Barnes, the walk-on freshman whose scouting report mentions more about the 12,000 pigs his family raises in small-town Milford, Utah, hadn’t thrown a pass in college before tonight.
Coming on for the injured Cam Rising, Barnes just found tight end Dalton Kincaid for a 19-yard touchdown in the Rose Bowl. Tie game. It’s 45 all with 1:54 to play.
OSU takes the lead
Jaxon Smith-Njigba must have heard all the talk about the Buckeyes who sat this one out. The Ohio State wide receiver has been sensational: 13 catches, 326 yards and now three touchdowns. His latest score puts Ohio State up 45-38.
Cam Rising leaves with injury
Cam Rising appeared to hit his head hard against the ground on a sack. After being examined, the Utes quarterback managed to walk slowly off the field and to the injury tent.
If the Utes are to win this game, it appears they’ll do it with quarterback Bryson Barnes, a walk-on from small town Milford, under center.
Marvin Harrison Jr. came into this game with five catches on the year. His fifth catch tonight – his third score of the game — has tied this one up. With 10:12 to play, it’s 38 all.
A Rose Bowl moment for Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe
Utah 38, Ohio State 31
Utah 38, Ohio State 28
Jadon Redding’s chip shot field goal has Utah back up two scores.
Special teams woes continue
As good as Britain Covey and the Utes have been at returning kicks, the other side of Utah’s kicking game has been one of the team’s weak points this season.
A bobble on a long snap gave the Buckeyes the ball on the Utah 11. Two plays later, Stroud hit Marvin Harrison Jr. for a score to make it 35-28.
Halftime: Utah 35, Ohio State 21
“It looks like we’ve never practiced pass defense. We have to get that shored up,” Kyle Whittingham tells ESPN’s Holly Rowe as he walks off the field at halftime.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day says: “We gotta do a better job. We have to tackle better. We have to handle the run better and, obviously, we have to tackle on kickoffs better.”
Just when it looked like we were headed for a sixth touchdown, here comes Clark Phillips III.
The freshman corner, once an Ohio State commit, chased down Jaxon Smith-Njigba and punched the football loose and into the end zone for the Utes to recover.
Five touchdowns in 2:43 of game time.
It’s 35-21, Utah.
Who can get a stop first?
We’ve got a shootout
A 50-yard strike from C.J. Stroud to Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Then it was Britain Covey’s time to shine. The electric kick returner just housed a 97-yarder to put Utah back up two scores. It’s 27-14 with still more than eight minutes to play in the first half.
Tavion Thomas, TD machine
After being recruited by OSU out of high school, and then taking a winding path to Salt Lake City, Thomas just showed the Buckeyes what he can do. The running back’s 6-yard touchdown run was his 21st score this season.
Utah leads 21-7 in the second quarter.
Ohio State DE Jack Sawyer disqualified
The Buckeyes are down a lineman.
Freshman defensive end Jack Sawyer was called for targeting on a tackle on Utah quarterback Cam Rising. Sawyer had 12 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble this season.
OSU is on the board
Ohio State is missing two of its best receivers. Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson opted out of the Rose Bowl as they began preparations for the NFL Draft. But the Buckeyes are still loaded in the pass game, as we just say.
On fourth-and-1, quarterback C.J. Stroud threw a strike to Marvin Harrison Jr. for a 25-yard touchdown.
Make it Utah 14, Ohio State 7.
Micah Bernard is playing both ways, filling in as a cornerback for the depleted secondary.
That would be impressive enough.
Then he went and did this.
Utah leads 14-0 with 3:28 to play in the opening quarter.
Britain Covey scores Rose Bowl’s first touchdown
The Utes strike first.
And who else would you expect to find pay dirt first?
Wide receiver Britain Covey, an all-time Ute playing in his last collegiate game, put Utah on the scoreboard first, hauling in a pass from Cam Rising and took it 19 yards to the house. Utah leads 7-0 early in the first quarter.
A sea of red
There have been estimates that as many as 60,000 Utah fans will be in attendance for today’s game. By early accounts, the crowd at the Rose Bowl is much heavier on Utah red than Ohio State’s shade.
Will we see a running back at corner?
The Utes are thin at cornerback due to injuries. Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley said this week that the team had been experimenting with different players at the position. He just wouldn’t say who.
We might have a clue now.
Running back Micah Bernard is getting some work with cornerbacks coach Sharieff Shah during warmups.
Big game, high fashion
LeVar Burton to handle pregame coin toss
The television star is serving as the Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal, a role that comes with an important duty: the pregame coin toss. And he isn’t taking that duty lightly.
The Rose Parade returns after a year away
A first look from inside
Pregame reading to get you to kickoff
Welcome to game day, Ute fans.
After nearly a month of waiting, the Rose Bowl is finally here. No. 11 Utah and No. 6 Ohio State are set to kick off at about 3:10 p.m. MT on ESPN.
The Buckeyes are currently a 4-point favorite over the Utes, who are making their first ever appearance in the historic New Year’s Day bowl. But this Utes team isn’t worried about that.
“I think it’s about climbing the ladder of national respect,” wide receiver Britain Covey said this week. “I feel like the University of Utah has done that in the past when we were BCS Busters. But it’s still difficult to be known as one of those premier programs, right? But I think we’re getting to the point where we could play anyone in the country and they would know what kind of game it’s going to be.”