The 2023 Rose Bowl is not an easy game to predict. Most analysts would say that Utah was the better team going into this game, but Utah won’t have two of its best and most important players on the field for this game. We’ll tell you all about those players and the tension points in this matchup.
Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Utah Utes – 2023 Rose Bowl
Date: Monday, January 2, 2023 – 5:00 PM ET
Location: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
NCAA Football Odds: Utes -2.5
The Nittany Lions are 4-1 away from home this season, 4-1 against the spread.
The Utes are 4-3 straight up away from home this season, 3-4 against the spread.
Penn State is 8-2 straight up in its last 10 games, 7-3 ATS. Utah is 8-2 in its last 10, 6-4 ATS.
This is the first meeting between the two schools. They have never previously played.
Penn State Nittany Lions
The Nittany Lions were not a very impressive team in 2022. They did win 10 games, and they certainly weren’t a mediocre team, but they lost the two most important games on their schedule, to Michigan and Ohio State. They were a dog at the best betting sites for both outings and couldn’t hang in either game.
They did give Ohio State a battle for 50 minutes but were completely outclassed in the final 10 minutes. That loss to the Buckeyes at home was not a blowout, but it also wasn’t especially close at the very end.
The rest of the Big Ten Conference was down this year, so Penn State really didn’t have a third game in the Big Ten in which its talent and quality were severely tested. Penn State played a road game out of conference against Auburn. That matchup looked good on paper when the season began, but then it became clear Auburn wasn’t very good. Penn State drilled the Tigers, but drilling a bad team doesn’t really prove how good a team is.
Penn State gets a chance to win a really big game against a quality opponent for the first time all season. The Nittany Lions will rely on their defense, especially their pass rush, to slow down the Utah offense and quarterback Cam Rising.
The Utes will be missing two key players: Clark Phillips is their best defensive back. He was an excellent lockdown corner in the secondary. Penn State has a better chance of finding favorable matchups in the passing game with Phillips not playing. Also, tight end Dalton Kincaid – whose 16-catch, 234-yard masterpiece against USC on October 15 carried the Utes to one of two huge victories over the Trojans this season – also won’t play. Tight end Thomas Yassmin will fill in for Kincaid. He is good, but he isn’t as good as Kincaid is.
One good piece of news for Utah is that pass rusher Jonah Elliss will play. He will try to bother quarterback Sean Clifford and the rest of the Penn State passing attack. Utah has the better quarterback, but if the Utah defense can’t pressure Clifford, that advantage might not mean much for the Utes.
Nittany Lions vs. Utes Prediction:
Utes 27, Nittany Lions 24