Ohio State has targeted Micah Bernard of Utah. Fill-in corner ‘gave us all he had’ in Rose Bowl loss, says Kyle Whittingham


Bernard had never played defensively before in his college career before losing 48-45 to Ohio State.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes run back to Micah Bernard (2) running the ball as the Utah Utes face the Ohio State Buckeyes at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Saturday, January 1, 2022.

On a night when Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud and wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba set a Rose Bowl record, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham paid tribute to the fullback the Buckeyes were most aiming for.

“Micah, he gave us everything he had,” Whittingham said.

Micah Bernard was used to taking serves from Cam Rising and working his way through opposing defenses, trying to get as much human as possible in the University of Utah football team’s running game.

But the freshman running back started the Rose Bowl on Saturday playing in a defensive position.

Utes has been missing several cornerbacks due to injury, and defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley admitted this week that he has “Tested” with replacement at that location. Bernard proved to be part of that experiment. He played two-way football in the biggest game of the season – the first time he played defensively in his college career.

“We feel he’s the best pick in the corner,” said Whittingham, adding that the plan was for him to play attacking sparingly, defending full time and not being entirely on special teams. separate.

When attacked, Bernard made several plays. He caught an impressive pass in the bottom corner of the field in the first half, giving Utes a 14-0 lead.

Going into Saturday’s game, Bernard caught just one other touchdown in 12 regular-season games. Bernard counted 31 yards of javelin and 15 yards on Saturday.

On the other side of the ball, however, Bernard sometimes struggles with the rest of the extra. Buckeyes target Bernard in one-on-one. network coverage.

But Whittingham appreciates what he gets from the corner.

To start the third quarter, Bernard faced Smith-Njigba, who had his eye on the late zone. Bernard finished with a mask filled with Rose Bowl grass. Bernard finished the game with 10 tackles, 9 of which were solo attempts. That number was the highest among Utah’s defensive units.

“We appreciate his bravery for making that change,” Whittingham said. “He hasn’t played defensively since high school. To be willing to do it for us, proud of him. Very proud of him.” Ohio State has targeted Micah Bernard of Utah. Fill-in corner ‘gave us all he had’ in Rose Bowl loss, says Kyle Whittingham

Beth Allcock

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