GAMEDAY College Football

Rose Bowl: Penn State 35, Utah 21

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

AP Sports Writer

PASADENA, Calif. - KeAndre Lambert-Smith had the longest touchdown reception in Rose Bowl history on an 88-yard pass from Sean Clifford, freshman Nicholas Singleton broke a tiebreaking 87-yard touchdown run, and No. 9 Penn State rallied past No. 7 Utah 35-21 in the 109th edition of the Granddaddy of Them All.

Clifford passed for 279 yards and two touchdowns in an impressive farewell to Penn State, and Singleton rushed for 120 yards and two more scores on a rainy day filled with spectacular big plays by the Nittany Lions (11-2).

Utah couldn't rally with quarterback Cameron Rising sidelined by a second-half injury, and coach James Franklin's exuberant group comfortably won the Rose Bowl for the second time in school history and the first since Jan. 2, 1995.

Singleton got the Nittany Lions rolling in a well-played game when he broke through Utah's defensive front and outran the secondary for his second touchdown early in the third quarter. The 87-yard romp was the third-longest TD run in Rose Bowl history and the second-longest in Penn State's bowl history.

Shortly after rain began to fall on the Rose Bowl Game for the first time since 1997, Lambert-Smith got open deep and eluded Utah's defensive backs on the first snap of the fourth quarter for the longest pass completion in Penn State's bowl history. Clifford's pass also broke the Rose Bowl record of 76 yards by Michigan's Rick Leach to Curt Stephenson in 1978 against Washington.

Freshman Kaytron Allen added a 1-yard TD run with 10:36 to play, and Penn State's defense got stops on the Utes' first six drives of the second half.

The victory was a fitting finale for Clifford, the sixth-year senior who finally added a memorable bowl performance to his slew of Penn State career passing records in his 51st game. Clifford also became the winningest quarterback in school history with his 32nd victory, passing Trace McSorley.

Franklin called a timeout with 2:30 left to allow a hero's farewell for Clifford, who waved at the standing ovation from Penn State's white-clad fans while his teammates applauded.

"I'm just so thankful for this place," Clifford said. "I can't put it into words. It's so amazing. I just love Penn State so much."

Rising passed for 95 yards before apparently injuring his left knee in the third quarter, forcing the Utah quarterback out of his second straight Rose Bowl early due to injury. Bryson Barnes replaced Rising for the second straight year, but the two-time Pac-12 champion Utes (10-4) couldn't rally behind their backup.

Ja'Quinden Jackson rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown for Utah. Thomas Yassmin caught an early TD pass from Rising, but Utah was shut out for 32 straight minutes before Jaylen Dixon's TD catch with 25 seconds to play.

Rising, one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in Utah history, got hurt while being tackled after scrambling for a first down near midfield, eventually trudging to the locker room and returning later in street clothes. The Ventura County native also got hurt on a sack in the fourth quarter of last year's 48-45 Rose Bowl loss to Ohio State.

Barnes threw his first collegiate passes against the Buckeyes after Rising's injury and led an improbable tying touchdown drive before Ohio State won it at the gun. Barnes couldn't recapture that magic in his second Rose Bowl relief role, going 10 of 19 for 112 yards with an interception.

The unusually gloomy afternoon in Arroyo Seco marked the end of an era for the sport's oldest active bowl: It was the final edition of the Rose Bowl guaranteed to feature its traditional matchup between Pac-12 and Big Ten teams.

The game will be a College Football Playoff semifinal next year, and the subsequent playoff expansion means the Rose Bowl won't usually control which teams make the trip.

In contrast to several wild Rose Bowls in recent years, including the Utes' 93-point epic with Ohio State a year ago, both teams traded touchdowns early in drives with several old-school aspects with deliberate use of the run game and solid defense. Singleton even scored the game's first touchdown on a run out of a T formation.

Yassmin scored Utah's first TD while filling in for tight end Dalton Kincaid, the Utes' leading receiver. Kincaid sat out to preserve his health along with Utah's leading rusher, Tavion Thomas, and first-team All-American cornerback Clark Phillips III.

Penn State answered with Clifford's 10-yard TD pass to Mitchell Tinsley, but Utah evened it less than two minutes later on a 19-yard TD run by Jackson, making it 14-14 at halftime.

Singleton then made his 87-yard sprint early in the third quarter, surpassing 1,000 yards in his impressive freshman season along the way. Only Saquon Barkley's 92-yard run in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl was longer in the Nittany Lions' lengthy bowl history.

January 2, 2023

Scoring Summary
First Quarter PSUUtah
PSU TD 0:07 Nicholas Singleton 5 yard TD run (Jake Pinegar Extra Point) 7 0
Second Quarter PSUUtah
Utah TD 7:55 Thomas Yassmin 1 yard TD pass from Cameron Rising (Jordan Noyes Extra Point) 7 7
PSU TD 4:47 Mitchell Tinsley 10 yard TD pass from Sean Clifford (Jake Pinegar Extra Point) 14 7
Utah TD 2:38 Ja'Quinden Jackson 19 yard TD run (Jordan Noyes Extra Point) 14 14
Third Quarter PSUUtah
PSU TD 9:25 Nicholas Singleton 87 yard TD run (Jake Pinegar Extra Point) 21 14
Fourth Quarter PSUUtah
PSU TD 14:49 KeAndre Lambert-Smith 88 yard TD pass from Sean Clifford (Jake Pinegar Extra Point) 28 14
PSU TD 10:36 Kaytron Allen 1 yard TD run (Jake Pinegar Extra Point) 35 14
Utah TD 0:25 Jaylen Dixon 5 yard TD pass from Bryson Barnes (Jordan Noyes Extra Point) 35 21
Team Stats
  Penn State Utah
First downs 12 23
  Rushing 4 12
  Passing 8 9
  Penalty 0 2
3rd Down Efficiency 7-13, 54% 11-19, 58%
4th down efficiency 0-1, 0% 1-2, 50%
Rushes-Yards 31-169 43-184
Passing Yards 279 207
Return Yards 94 15
Completions-Attempts-Int 16-22-0 18-40-2
Sacks-Yards Lost 3-11 6-41
Punts 5 5
Fumbles Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties - Yards 3-33 3-20
Penn State Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
S. Clifford 16 21 279 2 0
D. Allar 0 1 0 0 0
Utah Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
B. Barnes 10 19 112 1 1
C. Rising 8 21 95 1 1
Penn State Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
N. Singleton 7 120 17.1 2
K. Allen 11 37 3.4 1
T. Smith 4 15 3.8 0
S. Clifford 8 -1 -0.1 0
Utah Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
J. Jackson 13 81 6.2 1
M. Bernard 11 59 5.4 0
C. Rising 9 56 6.2 0
M. Parks 1 9 9.0 0
J. Dixon 1 5 5.0 0
D. Vele 1 -9 -9.0 0
B. Barnes 7 -17 -2.4 0
Penn State Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
K. Lambert-Smith 3 124 41.3 1
M. Tinsley 6 49 8.2 1
H. Wallace III 2 47 23.5 0
T. Johnson 1 28 28.0 0
K. Allen 3 16 5.3 0
T. Warren 1 15 15.0 0
Utah Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
D. Vele 5 100 20.0 0
J. Dixon 6 64 10.7 1
L. Kendall 1 14 14.0 0
M. Parks 1 12 12.0 0
M. Bernard 3 8 2.7 0
J. Jackson 1 8 8.0 0
T. Yassmin 1 1 1.0 1
Penn State Interceptions
Player Int Yards
J. Brown 1 22
K. King 1 0
Utah Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Penn State Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
B. Amor 5 232 46.4
Utah Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
J. Bouwmeester 5 204 40.8
Penn State Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
M. Tinsley 2 4 2.0
Utah Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Penn State Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
N. Singleton 2 39 19.5
K. Lambert-Smith 1 0 0
K. Allen 1 29 29.0
Utah Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
M. Parks 1 15 15.0
Penn State Missed FG
Player Length
Utah Missed FG
Player Length

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