Jan 1, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Utah Utes wide receiver Britain Covey (18) scores a touchdown past Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Cameron Brown (26) during the  first quarter of the 2022 Rose Bowl at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

C.J. Stroud (6 TDs) rallies No. 6 Ohio St. past No. 11 Utah in Rose Bowl

C.J. Stroud and Jaxon Smith-Njigba shined with record-setting performances as No. 6 Ohio State rallied for a memorable 48-45 victory over No. 11 Utah in the Rose Bowl on Saturday at Pasadena, Calif.

Noah Ruggles kicked the winning 19-yard field goal with nine seconds left.

Stroud completed 37 of 46 passes and set Rose Bowl records with 573 yards and six touchdowns while being intercepted once. Smith-Njigba set school and Rose Bowl records with 347 receiving yards while making 15 catches, three for touchdowns.

Marvin Harrison Jr. caught three touchdown passes for the Buckeyes (11-2), who overcame a 14-point halftime deficit and drove down the field late for Ruggles’ decisive kick.

Utah’s Cameron Rising completed 17 of 22 passes for 214 yards and rushed for 92 yards and one score before leaving with a head injury in the fourth quarter.

Britain Covey caught a touchdown pass and scored another on a kickoff return for the Utes (10-4). Micah Bernard and Dalton Kincaid had scoring catches, and Tavion Thomas rushed for a score.

The teams combined for 1,146 yards — Ohio State had a 683-463 edge — in an epic shootout that included a second-quarter stretch in which five touchdowns were scored in a span of 2:43.

Ohio State never led until Stroud drilled a 30-yard touchdown pass to Smith-Njigba with 4:22 left to take a 45-38 lead. With Rising out, Bryson Barnes, who had never thrown a college pass entering the game, tossed a tying 15-yard scoring pass to Kincaid with 1:54 left.

The Buckeyes trailed throughout the game but caught the Utes at 38 on Stroud’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Harrison with 10:12 left.

Rising was sacked by Ohio State’s Kourt Williams on Utah’s next play from scrimmage and his head hit the turf hard. He exited and didn’t return.

Rising threw first-quarter touchdowns of 19 yards to Covey and 12 to Bernard before Ohio State got on the board with Stroud’s 25-yard scoring pass to Harrison 43 seconds into the second quarter.

The Utes started the touchdown frenzy on Thomas’ 6-yard run with 9:07 left in the second quarter. Just 35 seconds later, Smith-Njigba caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Stroud to pull the Buckeyes within 21-14.

Covey returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, but Ohio State answered on its next offensive play as Stroud connected with Smith-Njigba on a 52-yard scoring pass with 8:02 left. That made it four touchdowns in 65 seconds.

On their next drive, the Utes decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 38-yard line. Rising kept the ball and got the first down and then broke through a tackle attempt and lumbered 62 yards down the left sideline to make it 35-21 with 6:24 remaining in the half.

Ohio State moved within 35-28 on Stroud’s 8-yard scoring pass to Harrison with 11:20 left in the third quarter. Utah’s Jadon Redding and Ruggles traded field goals later in the stanza.

Oregon’s Danny O’Neil held the Rose Bowl passing yardage record of 456, set against Penn State on Jan. 2, 1995. USC’s Sam Darnold held the TD mark of five, also set against Penn State, on Jan. 2, 2017.

USC’s Keyshawn Johnson held the Rose Bowl mark of 216 receiving yards vs. Northwestern on Jan. 1, 1996, while the late Terry Glenn set the Ohio State record of 253 in 1995.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Utah Utes quarterback Cameron Rising (7) gets off a pass pressured by Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Jerron Cage (86) and Ohio State Buckeyes safety Lathan Ransom (12) during the first quarter of the 2022 Rose Bowl at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio St. S Lathan Ransom suffers leg injury

Ohio State sophomore safety Lathan Ransom was carted off the field with his left leg in an air cast during the second quarter of Saturday’s Rose Bowl against Utah at Pasadena, Calif.

Ransom was transported to a nearby hospital for X-rays and further examination.

Ransom was injured during a kickoff return in which Utah’s Britain Covey took it back 97 yards for a touchdown with 8:17 left in the first half.

Ransom collided with a teammate and could be seen writhing in pain on the ground during replays of Covey’s return.

–Field Level Media

December 3, 2021; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Utah Utes linebacker Devin Lloyd (0) quarterback Cameron Rising (7) and wide receiver Britain Covey (18) celebrate the victory against the Oregon Ducks in the 2021 Pac-12 Championship Game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

No. 11 Utah eager to face No. 6 Ohio State in Rose Bowl

Ohio State had aspirations of playing for the national championship, while Utah finally gets to play at that famous New Year’s Day paradise.

The No. 6 Buckeyes look to cast away disappointment and the No. 11 Utes will try to channel their exuberance when the teams meet Saturday in the Rose Bowl at Pasadena, Calif.

Utah (10-3) is playing in the Rose Bowl for the first time since joining the Pac-12 for the 2011 season.

The Utes also arrive as one of the hottest teams in the nation with six straight wins and nine in their past 10 games. They pounded Oregon by margins of 31 of 28 points late in the season, the latter in the Pac-12 title game.

Utah’s slow start prevented them from having a College Football Playoff case but they currently fall in that category of teams you don’t want to face.

“I definitely think we’re a top-tier team,” Utah All-American linebacker Devin Lloyd said. “And although we didn’t start off necessarily the way we wanted to, especially as the season progressed, I think they should take into account teams getting better.”

The Buckeyes (10-2) were good most of the season but a loss to Michigan in the regular-season finale prevented them from playing in the Big Ten title game and knocked them out of CFP contention.

Along with it came questions about Ohio State’s will to win.

“I don’t necessarily know if we needed it, but it was kind of like a wakeup call,” defensive end Jack Sawyer said. “Maybe we weren’t playing as tough as we should. Maybe we weren’t playing as hard as we could have every day in practice, taking the little things seriously.”

The Buckeyes are 8-7 in Rose Bowl appearances. The current squad is prolific on offense as they lead the nation in both scoring offense (45.5) and total offense (551.4 yard per game).

Quarterback C.J. Stroud finished fourth in Heisman Trophy balloting and passed for 3,862 yards and 38 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Running back TreVeyon Henderson rushed for 1,165 yards and 15 touchdowns and Jaxon Smith-Njigba led the Buckeyes in receiving (80 receptions for 1,259 yards and six TDs). But Ohio State will be without receivers Garrett Wilson (70 catches for 1,058 yards and 12 TDs) and Chris Olave (65 catches for 936 yards and 13 TDs), who opted out of the game on Monday.

Two other Buckeyes — offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere and defensive lineman Haskell Garrett — also have opted out of the bowl game.

Utah will attempt to slow the Buckeyes behind Lloyd, who recorded 22 tackles for loss (including eight sacks) and had four interceptions this season. The Utes limited four of their last five opponents to 13 or fewer points.

Utah quarterback Cameron Rising has thrown for 2,279 yards and 18 touchdowns against five interceptions. Tavion Thomas has rushed for 1,041 yards and 20 touchdowns while Britain Covey returned two punts for scores while averaging 14.7 yards per return.

Utes coach Kyle Whittingham became the school’s leader in all-time victories (144) when his team rolled over Oregon in the Pac-12 title game. Utah also is 11-3 in bowl games under Whittingham despite dropping its last two.

“We’ve had a pretty good track record in bowl games. We have a process that we follow and adhere to. It’s been successful for us,” Whittingham said.

“We’ve got a plan in place. Typically our guys do a great job preparing for a bowl game. We’re going to have to, with Ohio State as our opponent. We’re going to need great preparation to have a shot.”

The Buckeyes see themselves as a team with something to prove at the iconic stadium that sits below the San Gabriel Mountains. They lost to Oregon in September and were pushed around by arch-rival Michigan on Nov. 27.

Wolverines offensive coordinator Josh Gattis rubbed salt in the wounds in the aftermath when he said of the Buckeyes: “They’re a finesse team, they’re not a tough team.”

That, of course, didn’t sit well with the Buckeyes.

“We’re as physical as any team in the country,” said Ohio State defensive end Zach Harrison, “and I think we’re going to showcase that in the Rose Bowl.”

The Buckeyes won the lone previous meeting with the Utes, 64-6 in 1986.

–Field Level Media

Ohio State Buckeyes wide receivers Garrett Wilson (5), Chris Olave (2) and Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) take the the field for the NCAA football game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021.

Ohio State Buckeyes At Michigan Wolverines

WRs Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave among Ohio State’s Rose Bowl opt-outs

Ohio State will play without a pair of top-tier wide receivers in the Rose Bowl, as Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave opted out of the game, coach Ryan Day announced Monday.

Offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere and defensive lineman Haskell Garrett also opted out for the Buckeyes’ bowl game against Utah.

Wilson, a junior, declared early for the NFL Draft. He and Olave are both projected to be early-round selections.

Wilson caught 70 passes for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns in his final season at Ohio State, while Olave had 65 catches for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The Buckeyes still will have leading receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who has hauled in 80 catches for 1,259 yards and six touchdowns in his sophomore season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Jack Miller III (9) throws during the fourth quarter against the Akron Zips at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Former Ohio State QB Jack Miller transferring to Florida

Former Ohio State quarterback Jack Miller III is transferring to Florida to play for new coach Billy Napier.

“Excited to get to work!” Miller tweeted Tuesday with an image of himself in a Gators uniform.

Miller, a redshirt freshman who was the Buckeyes’ third-string quarterback this season, entered the transfer portal three weeks ago. He completed 7 of 14 passes for 101 yards in four games as a backup to Heisman Trophy finalist C.J. Stroud.

Miller was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2020, ranked as the nation’s No. 13 pro-style QB by the 247Sports composite.

A spot opened up in Gainesville last week when starting quarterback Emory Jones announced his plans to transfer.

Jones passed for 2,563 yards with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season for Florida (6-6), which finishes the season Thursday night in the Gasparilla Bowl against UCF (8-4) in Tampa, Fla.

–Field Level Media

A 9/11 sticker is on the back of Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud's helmet prior to the NCAA football game against the Oregon Ducks at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.

Oregon Ducks At Ohio State Buckeyes Football

Ohio State five-star commit Sonny Styles reclassifies to 2022

Ohio State commit Sonny Styles, the top-ranked safety in the Class of 2023, will reclassify to 2022.

A five-star in-state product, Styles hails from Pickerington, Ohio and is listed at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. He chose the Buckeyes in November over offers from Clemson, Florida, Notre Dame and Ole Miss.

His father, Lorenzo Styles, played linebacker at Ohio State from 1992-94.

Now the younger Styles will head to Columbus a year earlier than expected. On Sunday he tweeted that he will sign his national letter of intent this Wednesday, national signing day for the early signing period.

Styles ranks No. 13 overall and No. 2 in the state of Ohio after reclassifying to 2022, per the 247Sports Composite.

–Field Level Media

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) warms ups prior to the NCAA football game against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021

Tulsa At Ohio State Football

Reports: Ohio State QB Quinn Ewers entering transfer portal

Despite his pedigree, Quinn Ewers will not be Ohio State’s star quarterback of the future.

The top-ranked quarterback from the Class of 2022 who enrolled early at Ohio State to capitalize on the state’s name, image and likeness laws for college athletes, will enter the NCAA transfer portal, multiple media outlets reported Friday.

Ewers, part of a crowded quarterback depth chart, took two snaps for the Buckeyes. Redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud started every game of the 2021 regular season for Ohio State and is in the running to be a Heisman Trophy finalist.

The school also has highly-rated quarterbacks Kyle McCord and Jack Miller with multiple years of eligibility remaining, prompting Ewers to look elsewhere.

Yahoo reported that Ewers is considering transferring Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

A Southlake, Texas, native, Ewers committed to the Longhorns before flipping to Ohio State and enrolling early due at least in part to rules prohibiting Texas high schoolers from making money with their NIL rights.

Ewers reportedly earned more than $1 million on NIL deals after arriving at Ohio State.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) celebrates his sad of Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (not pictured) with defensive end Mike Morris (90) in the second half in the second half at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

CFP rankings: Michigan takes over No. 2 after beating Ohio State

Michigan rose three spots to No. 2 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night, moving into position for its first appearance in the four-team playoff.

The Wolverines (11-1) rose after beating Ohio State 42-27 Saturday, which prompted the Buckeyes to fall five spots to No. 7 this week. It was Michigan’s first win over its archrival since 2011, and moves the Wolverines into the Big Ten Championship game for the first time, facing West Division champion Iowa on Saturday night in Indianapolis.

Michigan is a 10.5-point favorite to win the Big Ten title fight, which would surely boost the Big Blue into its first College Football Playoff field since the playoffs were instituted in the 2014 season. Michigan last won the national championship in 1997, sharing the title with Nebraska.

Georgia remained No. 1 and Alabama stayed at No. 3 despite struggling to put away Auburn in a four-overtime Iron Bowl.

Cincinnati — with Georgia, one of the only two undefeated teams remaining in the country — held at No. 4 in its bid to become the first team from outside the Power Five conferences to reach the playoff.

Oklahoma State rose two spots to No. 5 by beating rival Oklahoma 37-33. The Cowboys will face Baylor in the Big 12 Championship Game with a shot at finishing as a 12-1 conference champion, providing a good argument for its playoff hopes.

Oklahoma State leapfrogged No. 6 Notre Dame, which stayed pat as it deals with the aftermath of coach Brian Kelly leaving the Fighting Irish program this week to accept the same job at LSU.

Behind Ohio State, Ole Miss passed Baylor to become No. 8, relegating the Bears to No. 9. Oregon rounds out the top 10.

No. 23 Kentucky (8-4) and No. 24 Louisiana (11-1) entered the rankings. Wisconsin fell all the way from No. 14 to out of the Top 25 following its loss to Minnesota. UTSA also dropped out of the Top 25, as well, after its first loss of the season to North Texas.

Below is the complete Top 25:

1. Georgia
2. Michigan
3. Alabama
4. Cincinnati
5. Oklahoma State
6. Notre Dame
7. Ohio State
8. Ole Miss
9. Baylor
10. Oregon
11. Michigan State
12. BYU
13. Iowa
14. Oklahoma
15. Pitt
16. Wake Forest
17. Utah
18. North Carolina State
19. San Diego State
20. Clemson
21. Houston
22. Arkansas
23. Kentucky
24. Louisiana
25. Texas A&M

–Field Level Media

Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day leads his team onto the field prior to the NCAA football game against the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

Michigan State Spartans At Ohio State Buckeyes Football

No shortage of storylines as No. 2 Ohio State visits No. 5 Michigan

Forget the cliche that records don’t matter when Ohio State and Michigan renew one of the fiercest rivalries in sports Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The reality is that everything is at stake for the No. 2 Buckeyes (10-1, 8-0 Big Ten) and the fifth-ranked Wolverines (10-1, 7-1) a year after the game in Columbus, Ohio, was canceled because of a COVID-19 outbreak in the Michigan program.

A ninth straight win for the Buckeyes would give Ohio State an 18-2 edge in the series since 2001 and would clinch the East Division for the Buckeyes, earning them a trip to the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis on Dec. 4. A win there would assure Ohio State a third straight selection to the College Football Playoff.

“It’s what you love about Ohio State,” wide receiver Garrett Wilson said Tuesday. “It’s why you’re recruited here. It’s why you play here, to play in these situations.”

Two wins for the Wolverines would put them in position for their first CFP appearance.

“Both of these teams have a lot on the line,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “It’s a true playoff in that sense. In the College Football Playoff world, this is the start of the playoffs. The team that wins will advance, the team that doesn’t won’t. It is that. It’s also the big game, The Game, the rivalry.”

The teams prepared for The Game by posting impressive wins last weekend. The Wolverines scored on offense, defense and a kick return during a 59-18 trouncing of Maryland.

Ohio State scored on its first seven drives to pummel then-No. 7 Michigan State 56-7.

C.J. Stroud thrust himself to the forefront of Heisman Trophy consideration with his performance against Michigan State, completing 32 of 35 passes for 432 yards. He tossed six first-half touchdown passes while setting a school record with 17 straight completions.

His job is made easier throwing to the trio of Wilson, Chris Olave and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who have combined for 187 catches for 2,919 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Michigan will counter with two of the nation’s best pass rushers in Aidan Hutchinson (nine sacks) and David Ojabo (10 sacks).

“I just want to walk off that field as a winner knowing I was on the team that beat Ohio State,” Hutchinson said on Inside Michigan Football radio.

When Ohio State isn’t passing, TreVeyon Henderson has rushed for 1,019 yards and 14 scores.

The Buckeyes lead the nation in scoring (47.2 ppg), total offense (559.9 ypg) and touchdowns (67). Michigan is seventh in scoring defense (16.3 ppg), eighth in pass defense (178.4 ypg) and ninth in total defense (306.6 ypg).

“They’re real good at every position,” Olave said. “It’s going to be a tough challenge for us.”

While Michigan has the 15th-best running game in the nation (218.4 ypg), the Buckeyes are 11th against the run (102.3 ypg) and are also tied for ninth with 36 sacks.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day said the pregame hype has not affected his team’s preparation.

“We certainly don’t need any extra motivation for this game,” he said. “Everything is riding on it.”

–Field Level Media

Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Haskell Garrett (92) walks beside head coach Ryan Day during the third quarter of the NCAA football game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

Michigan State Spartans At Ohio State Buckeyes Football

CFP rankings: Ohio State to No. 2, Cincinnati cracks top four

Ohio State leapt to No. 2 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night following Saturday’s rout of Michigan State.

The Buckeyes beat the Spartans, ranked seventh at the time, 56-7, which helped them nab their highest ranking of the season.

Georgia remained No. 1, Alabama slipped one spot to No. 3 and Cincinnati filled out the projected field of four.

It marks not only a new high for Cincinnati as a program, but also the first time any Group of Five program has been ranked in the top four by the playoff committee, which has been notoriously tough on smaller-conference programs.

Michigan and Notre Dame are Nos. 5 and 6. Michigan hosts Ohio State on Saturday in the annual Big Game, with the winner clinching the Big Ten East division and a spot in the conference championship game.

Oklahoma State moved up two spots to No. 7, and Baylor, Ole Miss and Oklahoma advanced three spots to fill out the top 10. Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, both 10-1, will meet Saturday in their annual Bedlam rivalry game. The Cowboys have already clinched a Big 12 title game berth, and the Sooners would join them and force a rematch with a head-to-head win Saturday.

There was more movement than usual in the top 10 not only because the Spartans’ loss pushed them out to No. 12, but also because Oregon crashed out following a lopsided loss to Utah. The Ducks’ second conference loss of the year dropped them eight spots to No. 11.

Clemson entered the rankings at No. 23 following a 48-27 win over Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons dropped eight spots to No. 18 as a result.

Below is the complete Top 25:

1. Georgia
2. Ohio State
3. Alabama
4. Cincinnati
5. Michigan
6. Notre Dame
7. Oklahoma State
8. Baylor
9. Ole Miss
10. Oklahoma
11. Oregon
12. Michigan State
13. BYU
14. Wisconsin
15. Texas A&M
16. Iowa
17. Pittsburgh
18. Wake Forest
19. Utah
20. North Carolina State
21. San Diego State
22. UTSA
23. Clemson
24. Houston
25. Arkansas

–Field Level Media