Pasadena, Calif. • As the numbers on the board – Ohio State 48, Utah 45 – shined into the shadow of the San Gabriel Mountains at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night, there was a mixture of sadness and joy in the hearts of the Utes as step out of the yard. , pride still intact, a punch absorbed, head down, tears flowing.
The 60,000 Utah fans in the stands have experienced and felt it.
The Pac-12 champions have endured the pain of defeat on this occasion, reasonably bringing with them, somewhere in the depths, the fulfillment of what they’ve achieved before, but also the a strange amalgamation of what was left on the iconic arena.
It is more than all. That’s what could have been.
Utah had intended to become a Rose Bowl champion in 2022.
Utes overcame the defeat earlier this season, faced tragedy, escaped the clutches of adversity, looked it in the eye and went on to win, won a major conference title, qualified Spread the bowl full of roses.
Brother Covey said so in the post: “This season is a good metaphor for our team … fighting back through everything.”
So it was, it did.
All of that was done to honor the lost, who will never be forgotten, Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe, beloved teammates, beloved brothers who have come to whatever where loved ones have gone.
Victory has come to them this season.
What is the loss in the historic Rose Bowl supposed to happen?
Not sure. But it has come.
It was a common component of what Utes had publicly stated after the deaths of TJ and AL – that they were playing for something bigger than themselves. They played for their friends. It is possible that both sides of the agreement are not recognized or emphasized enough. Such dedication brings tremendous pressure, pressure to carry the task at hand. Losing and dealing with the consequences of self-disappointment is one thing. It’s another thing to lose and directly translates into a failed tribute to those who have gone.
Though the Utes didn’t want the latter, that’s what they got, even as key Ohio State players skipped the game in preparation for the NFL draft.
But it is not what Utes Candlestick arrive. There certainly wasn’t any kind of feeling that their teammates from the Great Beyond were/disappointed about or about them.
Penetrate the depths of failure here and now, OK. Utes lost to a high-quality Buckeyes team that would have played in the College Soccer League if not for a single loss to Michigan. Ohio State is a tough opponent, a loss that shouldn’t be embarrassing. If that sounds condescending to some, it doesn’t mean it.
Utes had one of the most memorable seasons ever.
It just ends the wrong way.
There are no excuses here. They lost a game they could have won, leading mostly by double digits.
After more than a century of waiting, most of the time they didn’t get a chance to participate, Utah football finally got its turn at the Rose Bowl, its turn to leave its mark with a tradition that included several players. all-time greats of college football and ghosts of all time.
It is a legacy that Utes can be a happy part of.
Either way, it’s not a win.
What’s written in the history books might not be the main swing they thought they’d think when approaching the tee ball with the Buckeyes, focusing instead on the business at hand, but…so let it be. done, so leave it in writing.
For whatever reason, the Utes were unable to stir up the defense with the purpose they needed, and attack quite enough to claim their reward, unable to track the outcome was lucky enough to succeed and get past them in second half of the season.
Here are some details on how it happened, from start to finish:
Utah sent an unheard message when it was selected to receive after winning the coin toss, became aggressive, but stopped at first possession. But when the Buckeyes took hold deep in their territory, they got nowhere. Messages are sent and heard on the other side of the ball. The message was heard back in reverse as Cam Rising beat Covey at 19 yards with less than six minutes elapsed in the first quarter.
All systems are up and running.
Rising delivers a 12-yard pass to Micah Bernard in Utah’s second TD, still in the first inning, the Utes leading, 14-zip. Up until that point, this game brought back memories of how the 2008 Ute team kicked Alabama across the pitch early on.
Utah is mentally sharper, more motivated, more emotional, more efficient, more angry, more… everything.
It didn’t last long.
The Buckeyes, undaunted, rocked themselves early in the second quarter, finishing a long way by cutting the gap to seven.
Utah’s Critical Response, one of many, was impressive.
Passing a penalty and a rebound, but benefiting from a targeted call against Ohio State, the Utes finished their third in a nine-time, 79-yard march, lifting the lead. Their number returned 14 through a Tavion Thomas six-yard run.
However, Bernard, playing on both wings, filling in Utah’s meager extra space, was beaten on a deep tackle 27 seconds later to close the gap to seven, once again.
Covey then did what he did like a thousand times before – he jerked and jerked, twisted and wiggled, burned and stirred on his return, this match in a match, in 97 measure to beat Utah to 28-14. Notably, the first half is still 8:17.
Ohio State took all of 15 seconds to score again on a 52-yard pass, taking the Utes’ lead to just seven.
This is becoming absurd. It blew through it was ridiculous. Those are petty thieves.
But there’s more than that.
About half a second later, Rising made a 62-yard touchdown, and the score was 35-21, Utah.
Ohio State should have scored again, a pass from CJ Stroud to Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but the receiver fumbled at Utah’s 3-yard line, recovered by Utes, eventually stopping a drive, like it happened.
Utes have struggled to put pressure on Stroud all this time, and they have paid the price.
Early in the third quarter, a Clark Phillips intercept blocked a scoring threat in Ohio State. But a miss from Ute football player Michael Williams returned the ball to the Buckeyes at Utah’s 11-yard line, resulting in an OSU touchdown.
Another Utah response – this time an on-field goal after moving down the field 59 yards – put the U team up to 10.
Ohio State responded with… a goal on the field.
Table tennis has helicopters, anyone?
Even with the back and forth, and that long lead, it felt as if Utah was almost unyielding, clinging desperately, grass-covered shovels under their fingernails.
Ohio State’s coverage of talent receivers, even when those who opted out of Buckeye are gone, is troublesome. The entire defenders fought fiercely. Stroud finished with 573 yards of passing, Smith-Njigba with 347 yards of receiving. All told, the Buckeyes have grown 683 feet, 463 Utes.
Ohio State took the lead in the Utes’ first-ever drive of the fourth quarter at its own 29-yard line, speeding up 71 yards to eventually score at 38.
From that point on, with 10:12 left, the result is a jumping ball.
Reaching as far as they could, sliding here, sliding there, the Utes looked as if they couldn’t get a hold of them. When Rising was fired – and injured and replaced with a freshman backup Bryson Barnes – the celebration was supposed to have been done, obliterated by a final drive by Ohio State and TD.
No, that’s not it.
Barnes led the Utes on a superb touchdown shot, adorned with a perfectly scoring pass to Dalton Kincaid, tying up 45 with 1:54 remaining. Whaaaaaaaat?!
Barnes is a freshman from Milford, a kid from a small high school, from a family of pigs. Could this be an unlikely showbiz ending?
What was real on this night did not bring a smile to Utes’ face.
Their celebration ended, when the defense failed again, with a goal at Buckeye in the final seconds.
But did it? It is over? Should it end? Only in this last game did a big match happen. A pain.
The season – a win, considered an inspiring whole – was even bigger.
What it all means for Utah is that it currently stands atop the Pac-12, undefeated at the end of the game against the Big Ten. There’s still work to do. At the same time, looking back on the way they have come, the Utes have built a solid football escalation program that is respected by all.
Indeed, it could be better limited. The normally reliable defense was sucked.
There are those who might consider Ohio State vulnerable to disappointment, as the CFP position has escaped them. But the Buckeyes appeared by force.
Utes too. They are just not good enough. If they were, they weren’t on Saturday night. Only they themselves know what it really is.
Either way, religiously or not, every Utes should believe that TJ and AL were there on the sidelines with them, cheering them on, emphasizing joy and not sadness, when they stepped out onto the pitch, their pride. The trench is still intact, the punch is attractive, the mind is broken, the tears are flowing.
Who can argue with that? Sure, no one wants to.
Kyle Whittingham said: “Warriors don’t give up.”
The Utes never did.
https://www.sltrib.com/sports/utah-utes/2022/01/01/gordon-monson-utah-ends/ Utah ends a winning season with a painful defeat at the Rose Bowl