Utah Football Ready for Anything in Program’s First Rose Bowl


Jack Gambassi

(Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Sports Editor


The University of Utah football team is gearing up for the program’s first ever trip to the Rose Bowl. This Utah team has gone through a lot over the past year, but they’ve reached the mountaintop after winning their first Pac-12 title and earning their spot in one of the most prestigious games in the country.

This season has been a story of triumph after bouncing back from major tragedy within the program. Almost exactly one year ago, freshman running back Ty Jordan tragically passed away from an accidental gunshot wound. His death left the team shell shocked after just having finished a turbulent, shortened 2020 season. 

Months later, Aaron Lowe was also killed in a shooting incident. Lowe and Jordan were childhood friends. Lowe took over Jordan’s no. 22 and was the first recipient of his memorial scholarship. 

Two teammates, both tragically killed in under a year’s time. This Utah team had every reason to roll over and quit on the season. It would have been understandable, given the emotional impact the tragedies had on everyone in the community. But that’s not what happened.

Instead, the team rallied around Jordan and Lowe and made an unbelievable run after a rocky start to the year. They lost twice in non-conference play, starting quarterback Charlie Brewer left the program after being benched for Cameron Rising and the team dealt with multiple injuries and setbacks. Still, here they are, in the Rose Bowl, having only lost one game since September. 

They dominated Oregon twice en route to the Pac-12 Championship, exorcised some demons by beating USC on the road for the first time in almost 100 years, destroyed Stanford on the road 52-7 and set multiple program records along the way. This Utah team rose to the challenge on every occasion and they now find themselves ready for the biggest game for this program in a long time, maybe ever.

Utah players understand how big this game is. None have opted out to prepare for the NFL, as four of the best Buckeyes have done. Those who are entering the draft have declared this game “one last ride” with the program. The team is rested, sharp and ready for the moment when the game kicks off on Saturday,

Ohio State will be without Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Haskell Garrett and Nicholas Petit-Frere, who all opted out of playing in the Rose Bowl. That’s a big break for the Utes, as all four are top NFL prospects. Receivers Olave and Wilson in particular would have been problematic for Utah’s depleted secondary.

Regardless of who’s suiting up, each team is expecting the other’s best effort. Ohio State is a great team who had a great season, and they’re still loaded across the board. Utah cannot afford to underestimate them.

This has been a magical season for the Utes. They’re hoping to cap it off with a Rose Bowl victory to add to their other accolades from the year. The game will kick off at 2:10 p.m. PST, which is 3:10 MST. Utah’s first trip to Pasadena is sure to be a memorable one. They’ll view this season finale the same way as they’ve played all year: a chance to get 22% better, every day.


[email protected]