2023 Rose Bowl Features Penn State and Utah

Written By TJ McBride on December 26, 2022
Penn State battles Utah in 2023 Rose Bowl

Just one day after New Year’s Day, the 109th Rose Bowl will take place in Los Angeles. The Penn State Nittany Lions take on the Utah Utes in a battle of 10-win teams.

Rose Bowl iconic for games and stadium

Unfortunately, Californians will not be able to bet on the game legally in the state. Both California sports betting proposals on November’s ballot failed.

The Rose Bowl and its historic stadium are both well known across the world. The stadium has housed some of the greatest college football games of all time. But that’s not all. It’s also been the site of five Super Bowls, 1984 Olympic soccer matches, 1994 men’s World Cup and 1999 women’s World Cup games, along with four Bowl Championship Series (BCS) championships.

First time teams will play each other in Rose Bowl

Now, Utah and Penn State will add another first to the Rose Bowl’s long list of firsts when these teams face off in their first ever Rose Bowl matchup. Pasadena Tournament of Roses President Amy Wainscott talked about the historic nature of this year’s Rose Bowl.

“We are excited to host a traditional Rose Bowl game matchup, which will also be the first game between Utah and Penn State. We can’t wait to celebrate the Nittany Lions’ 100th anniversary of their first Rose Bowl game appearance and are thrilled to welcome back the Utes to Pasadena for the second consecutive year as Pac-12 Conference champions.”

The game will mark an end of an era at the Rose Bowl as well. Traditionally, the game includes teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten, just like this year. Next year, however, the Rose Bowl will be a semifinal game of the BCS. The year after, it will host a quarterfinals game when the BCS expands to 12 teams.

Tickets can be purchased through On Location

For those who want to buy tickets to the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2, the official partner of the Rose Bowl is On Location. Through them, tickets and VIP hospitality packages are available as well as other promotions and offers. For more details, check out OnLocationEXP.com.

Once at the game, a parking pass will be required. It can be purchased through the Rose Bowl website at RoseBowlstadium.com/parking. A general parking pass begins at $50 and goes as high as $500 for a four-day RV pass intended for tailgating. The parking passes are provided through a third-party company called ParkJockey.

Prior to kickoff, the historic Parade of Roses will take place as a part of an iconic New Year’s Day tradition. The theme for this year’s parade is  “Turning the Corner.” The point of the theme is to celebrate the potential that each new year brings, according to Wainscott.

“The 2023 theme celebrates turning a corner. Whether that corner is actual or figurative like the unlimited potential that each new year brings – we all enjoy the opportunity of a fresh start. “Turning a corner means rising above – alone, or with family, friends and community. This year, as we turn the corner together, we share in the hope, beauty and joy of what 2023 will bring.”

As usual, the Parade of Roses will feature floats covered with flowers or other natural materials, marching bands and equestrian units.

Utes beat USC in Pac-12 championship

The 8th-ranked Utes demolished the USC 47-24 in the Pac-12 championship game on Dec. 2. Entering the Rose Bowl, Utah has a 10-3 overall record, 7-2 in conference play. Utah is looking for different outcome from last year’s thrilling Rose Bowl, when they came up short against Ohio State, 48-45.

To collect the Leishman Trophy, which comes with winning the Rose Bowl, Utah will need to succeed in two areas.

The first is getting a big-time performance from their second-year quarterback, Cameron Rising. He has already established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the school’s football program. Rising enters the Rose Bowl with 2,939 passing yards and a completion rate of 66.2%. He has thrown 25 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

Rising has had some of his most impressive performances in Utah’s most important games. He threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns against USC in the Pac-12 championship and did not throw a pick.

The other important order of business for Utah would be finding some way to inject defense into the game. Utah is capable of winning shootouts, but that becomes a treacherous bet to make in the most important game of the season.

If Utah can find any way to take some control defensively against Penn State – either by forcing turnovers, rushing the quarterback or a combination of both – it would give them a good chance to win the game. Utah is eighth nationally in terms of total sacks with 38. They know how to get after the quarterback.

Penn State led by senior QB Sean Clifford

Similar to Utah, No. 11-ranked Penn State will rely heavily on its quarterback. The sixth-year senior and four-year starter is 24-year-old Sean Clifford. He has broken several Penn State passing records.

Clifford has thrown for 10,382 passing yards and  84 touchdowns entering the Rose Bowl. Both are school records. Clifford led the Nittany Lions to a 10-2 record, 7-2 in conference play.

Penn State has not been to the Rose Bowl in six years. They were beaten by USC 52-49 in 2017.

Photo by Chris Martinez/Associated Press
TJ McBride Avatar
Written by
TJ McBride

T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver. He covers the gaming landscape across multiple states in addition to his main beat covering the NBA's Denver Nuggets. His NBA work can be found at several major media outlets including ESPN, FiveThirtyEight and Bleacher Report.

View all posts by TJ McBride
Privacy Policy