BOWL GAME PREVIEW: “The Grandaddy of Bowl Games”, Rose Bowl Today at 5:00, Penn State vs. Utah; Nittany Lions Notes

109th Rose Bowl Game

PASADENA, Calif. – No. 11 Penn State is set to play in the 109th Rose Bowl Game against No. 8 Utah on Monday, January 2. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. ET on ESPN. Heading into “The Granddaddy of Them All”, let’s take a look at some of the key numbers.

1 – Penn State meets Utah for the first time in program history. It’s the third consecutive bowl game in which Penn State is facing a new opponent.

3 – The Rose Bowl is Penn State’s third most frequented bowl game. It is one of six bowl games that the Nittany Lions have appeared in at least five times. Penn State’s seven trips to the Fiesta Bowl rank first and six visits to the Citrus / Captial One Bowl are second on the list.

5 – Penn State is making its fifth all-time Rose Bowl appearance. The Nittany Lions previously played in the Rose Bowl in 1923, 1995, 2009, and 2017. Penn State is 1-3 all-time in “The Grandaddy of Them All.” The program completed an undefeated 1994 season with a memorable 38-20 victory over Oregon in the 1995 Rose Bowl. This season’s Rose Bowl game takes place 100 years after Penn State’s first appearance in 1923.

6 – Combined total sacks per game averaged by both Penn State and Utah. The Nittany Lions led the Big Ten and ranked 9th nationally during the regular season with 3.1 sacks per game. Meanwhile, Utah topped the Pac-12 and finished 17th among all FBS schools with 2.9 sacks per contest.

8 – Penn State went plus-eight in turnover differential during its final four regular season contests, forcing three turnovers in games against Indiana, Rutgers, and Michigan State.

10 – Regular season wins for Penn State in 2022. The fourth season with double-digit wins under head coach James Franklin.

13 – Runs of 30 yards or greater this season by Penn State’s explosive ground attack. Freshman Nicholas Singleton amassed three carries of at least 50 yards this season and fellow freshman Kaytron Allen broke a 59-yard run against Rutgers on November 19th.

15 – This year marks the 15th time the Rose Bowl game will be played on a Monday. In fact, Penn State’s lone Rose Bowl victory in 1995 against Oregon took place on a Monday and three of the program’s five Rose Bowl appearances have been on a Monday.

19 – Combined rushing touchdowns this season by freshmen running backs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen. Singleton’s 10 rushing touchdowns set a program record for rushing touchdowns by a freshman.

20 – Sacks by Penn State’s defense in its final four regular-season games. Linebacker Abdul Carter paced the team with four sacks during that span. Meanwhile, defensive ends Adisa Isaac and Chop Robinson each tallied three sacks during the month of November to close the regular season.

40 – The Rose Bowl marks Penn State’s 40th all-time matchup against a current member of the Pac-12. The Nittany Lions hold a 25-14 record against Pac-12 schools, winning 7 of the last 10 games.

52 – Penn State is making its 52nd bowl appearance, which ranks 10th all-time among college football programs.

104 – Points off turnovers this season by Penn State.

109 – Penn State and Utah are meeting in the 109th Rose Bowl Game.

125 – Scoring margin in Penn State’s four November victories to conclude the regular season, outscoring opponents 165-40.

194 – Rushing yards by Penn State running back Saquon Barkley in the 2017 Rose Bowl. Barkley accumulated 306 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns in the game, highlighted by a mesmerizing 79-yard run early in the third quarter to give Penn State the lead. Penn State ultimately fell to USC 52-49. At the time, it was the highest-scoring Rose Bowl Game ever played with 101 total points.



UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 11 Penn State takes on No. 8 Utah in the 109th Rose Bowl Game on January 2. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. on ESPN. The 2022 Penn State football season is presented by PSECU.

FIFTH ROSE BOWL APPEARANCE: Penn State will make its fifth Rose Bowl appearance in program history. PSU’s first ever bowl game was the 1923 Rose Bowl, a 14-3 loss against USC. Penn State returned to the Rose Bowl in 1995, defeating Oregon, 38-20, to complete an undefeated 1994 season. The Nittany Lions met USC in 2009 Rose Bowl, falling 38-24, and the 2017 Rose Bowl, falling 52-49.

SERIES HISTORY: Penn State meets Utah for the first time in program history. The Utes are Penn State’s 32nd different bowl opponent and it’s the third-straight bowl (Arkansas in Outback Bowl; Memphis in Cotton Bowl) that Penn State has played a first-time opponent. The Nittany Lions are 25-14 against current members of the Pac-12, with the last meeting in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl vs. Washington, a 35-28 win.

TOP TIGHT ENDS: The Penn State-Utah matchup features two of the top tight end groups in the country. Utah leads the country in tight end receptions (101), receiving yards (1,496), receiving touchdowns (16) and receiving yards per game (155.7). Penn State is second in receiving touchdowns (13) and is one of three FBS schools with four tight ends catching a touchdown pass this season, joining Oregon and San Jose State. Among Power Five schools, Penn State ranks fifth in tight end receiving yards per game (90.3), seventh in receiving yards (823) and eighth in receptions (64).

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Nicholas Singleton was named the Big Ten’s Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year. He became the fourth Nittany Lion to be named the conference freshman of the year, joining Christian Hackenberg (2013), Deion Barnes (2012) and Curtis Enis (1995, media). Singleton broke PSU’s freshman rushing touchdown record with 10. He ranks fourth among FBS freshmen with 941 total rushing yards and leads FBS freshmen averaging 6.32 yards per carry.

THE OPPOSITION: Utah is 10-3 overall and won the Pac-12 championship after going 7-2 in conference action during the regular season. The Utes knocked off No. 4 USC, 47-24, in the Pac-12 Championship on December 2. Cameron Rising threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns, while Ja’Quinden Jackson rushed for 105 yards and a score and Micah Bernard added 88 rushing yards and a touchdown.


  • 109th: Penn State and Utah are set to play in the 109th Rose Bowl Game.
  • 100: Penn State will be appearing in its fifth Rose Bowl Game, 100 years from its first appearance in the game in 1923.
  • 37thNicholas Singleton won the Big Ten’s Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year award, becoming PSU’s 37th major conference award winner and the 11th under James Franklin.
  • 23: The Nittany Lions had 23 All-Big Ten selections in 2022, including 10 on offense and 10 on defense and three on special teams.


  • Kyle Whittingham is in his 18th year as head coach at Utah.
  • The longest-tenured coach in the Pac-12 and the second-longest tenured head coach at the same FBS school, Whittingham is 154-73 as head coach of the Utes.
  • He is Utah’s all-time wins leader and has led Utah to a winning record in 16 of his 18 seasons, including nine-straight.
  • Including this season, Whittingham has led Utah to at least a share of the Pac-12 South title in four of the last five seasons.
  • Utah is 10-3 this season and coming off winning its second-straight Pac-12 Championship, knocking off No. 4 USC, 47-24.
  • The Utes own two Top-10 wins this season, both over USC, defeating the Trojans, 43-42, on October 15.
  • In the Pac-12 Championship game, the Utes tallied 533 yards, averaging 7.7 yards per play.
  • Utah forced two takeaways against USC, who entered the game with four turnovers in the regular season.
  • On offense, Utah ranks eighth in the country in scoring offense (40.0 ppg), 17th in total offense (472.7 ypg) and 10th in rushing offense (220.2). Utah leads the country in first downs (342) and ranks ninth in third down percentage (.497).
  • QB Cameron Rising is averaging 244.9 passing yards per game and has thrown 25 touchdown passes.
  • Four Utes have rushed for at least 400 yards this season.
  • On defense, the Utes are 24th in scoring defense (20.4 ppg), 19th in total defense (325.3 ypg) and 16th in rushing defense (107.0). Utah is also ninth in the country in third down percentage defense (29.6).
  • LB Mohamoud Diabate leads Utah with 12.5 tackles for loss.


  • Penn State is making its 52nd bowl appearance, ranking 10th all-time.
  • Head Coach James Franklin has guided his teams to a bowl appearance 11 times (3 at Vanderbilt; 8 at Penn State).
  • Penn State’s 30 bowl victories are sixth nationally and lead all Big Ten schools.
  • The Nittany Lions’ 60.8 winning percentage in bowl games (30-19-2 record) is No. 9 nationally among teams with at least 20 bowl appearances.
  • Penn State made its first postseason appearance in 1923 when it traveled across the country to face USC in the Rose Bowl Game to cap off the 1922 season.


  • Penn State will be playing the program’s 33rd January bowl game and owns an 18-14 record in the month.
  • This is Penn State’s sixth time playing on Jan. 2, and the third time in the last seven bowl appearances.
  • Penn State is 2-3 on Jan. 2, winning the 1987 Fiesta Bowl and 1995 Rose Bowl.


  • The Tournament of Roses has had a “Never on Sunday” tradition since 1893, the first year since the beginning of the Tournament, that New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday. The Tournament wanted to avoid frightening horses that would be hitched outside churches and thus interfering with worship services so the events were moved to the next day, January 2. Though horses are no longer outside local churches, the tradition remains to this day (via
  • Penn State will be affected by the policy for the third time in five appearances. The Nittany Lions’ 1995 triumph over Oregon and 2017 game vs. USC were played on Monday, Jan. 2.
  • The 2022 Rose Bowl will be the 15th Rose Bowl played on Monday, Jan. 2.


  • RB Ki-Jana Carter set a Penn State bowl record with three rushing touchdowns in the 1995 Rose Bowl. He also rushed for 156 yards, which ranks third on the Penn State bowl ledger.
  • Carter’s 83-yard touchdown run in the game still stands as a Penn State bowl record, and Chafie Fields’ 84-yard run in the 1997 Fiesta Bowl is the only longer run by a Nittany Lion in a bowl game.
  • QB Daryll Clark set a Penn State then-bowl record with 273 passing yards in the 2009 Rose Bowl against USC. However, Christian Hackenberg shattered the record with 371 passing yards in the 2014 Pinstripe Bowl.
  • Clark also completed 21 passes in the same game to tie Michael Robinson’s record set in the 2006 Orange Bowl. Again however, Hackenberg topped the record with 24 completions in the 2014 Pinstripe Bowl.
  • QB Kerry Collins’ 63.3 percent completion percentage in the 1995 Rose Bowl ranks third in Penn State bowl history.
  • LB NaVorro Bowman’s five tackles for loss in the 2009 Rose Bowl still stands as a Penn State bowl record.
  • DT Todd Atkins and LB Phil Yeboah-Kodie had two sacks each in the 1995 Rose Bowl, which places both in a seven-way tie for the Penn State bowl record.
  • RB Saquon Barkley’s 194 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 2017 Rose Bowl both rank second in Penn State history. His 194 rushing yards were a Penn State bowl record before Journey Brown’s 202 yards in the 2019 Cotton Bowl.
  • QB Trace McSorley’s four passing touchdowns in the 2017 Rose Bowl are tied for the Penn State bowl record and his 72 yard touchdown pass to WR Chris Godwin in that game are tied for both the longest completion and longest touchdown pass in program bowl history.
  • Godwin hauled in nine receptions for 187 yards, both PSU bowl records, and a PSU bowl record-tying two touchdowns in the 2017 Rose Bowl.


  • Multiple Nittany Lions have earned postseason All-America honors.
  • OL Olumuyiwa Fashanu, CB Kalen King and CB Joey Porter Jr. were named second-team All-Americans by the Walter Camp Foundation.
  • Porter was selected a second-team All-American by the AFCA, AP, FWAA and CBS Sports.
  • King was named a third-team All-American by Pro Football Focus.
  • LB Abdul Carter was tabbed to the Pro Football Focus All-Freshman Team.
  • Carter and RB Nicholas Singleton were named to the On3 and 247Sports True Freshman All-America team.
  • RB Kaytron Allen, Carter and Singleton were named to the College Football News All-Freshman Team.


  • Penn State redshirt senior long snapper Chris Stoll was named the winner of the Patrick Mannelly Award on Dec. 10. The award is presented to the nation’s top long snapper.
  • He was honored at the Patrick Mannelly Award ceremony in Lake Bluff, Ill. He is the first Penn State player to ever win the award.
  • Stoll is the fourth winner of the Patrick Mannelly Award, joining Notre Dame’s John Shannon (2019), Alabama’s Thomas Fletcher (2020) and Pitt’s Cal Adomitis (2021).
  • Stoll is Penn State’s second specialist to win a national award. Tyler Davis was honored with the Vlade Award, for nation’s most accurate kicker, in 2016. Saquon Barkley won the Paul Hornung Award in 2017 for his efforts as a running back and a kick returner.