James Franklin watched Utah’s 47-24 victory over Southern Cal within the Pac-12 championship recreation on Friday evening and got here away impressed, noting the Utes’ tenacity and resiliency in regrouping from a 17-3 deficit.
“What a fantastic recreation for school soccer,” Franklin stated Sunday evening after the Jan. 2 Rose Bowl matchup was confirmed. “They performed so effectively and actually performed effectively all season lengthy.”
Utah’s victory leapfrogged Penn State (10-2) within the Faculty Soccer Playoff rankings because the groups flipped locations, the Lions falling from No. 8 to No. 11 and being changed by the Utes, who entered the weekend No. 11.
Utah (10-3) beat USC twice this season to offset losses at UCLA (42-32), Oregon (20-17) and within the season opener at Florida (29-26).
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has studied sufficient of Penn State to recommend “they remind me of us in a means.”
“We now have plenty of respect for these guys,” Whittingham stated Sunday. “Coach Franklin has executed a fantastic job there. We’ve already began watching the movie, and so they play excellent protection, and they’re only a actually balanced, well-coached soccer staff. Our guys might be excited concerning the problem and alternative. We’re wanting ahead to the journey.”
Utah misplaced to Ohio State, 48-45, in final 12 months’s Rose Bowl.
“Our guys are excited to be again within the recreation,” Whittingham stated. “It was a fantastic recreation final 12 months, got here proper all the way down to the wire. Ohio State performed exceptionally effectively, notably on offense and obtained the win, however we’re going again with one other alternative to attempt to get a win.”
Franklin referred to as the Lions’ journey to the Rose Bowl berth “a particular method to shut out this season with a staff, employees and fan base that has caught collectively and trusted the method all 12 months.”
“I wish to thank the Rose Bowl committee for the invitation to one in every of faculty soccer’s most prestigious and historic bowl video games,” he stated.
Kickoff for the Monday, Jan 2 recreation is 5 p.m. (Japanese time), and ESPN will televise.
The looks will mark Penn State’s first in Pasadena because the 2016 season when the Lions misplaced to Southern Cal, 52-49, in probably the most entertaining video games they’ve ever performed.
Franklin joked Sunday that “I’m going to examine the image of that Rose Bowl recreation performed 100 years in the past and ensure (quarterback) Sean (Clifford, now in his sixth 12 months) wasn’t in it.”
This might be PSU’s fourth Rose Bowl because the Massive Ten consultant, profitable in 1994 to cap an unbeaten season after which additionally shedding 38-24 on Jan. 1, 2009 and 14-3 in 1923.
All Massive Ten cornerback Joey Porter has already opted out of the Rose Bowl, however Franklin sounded if most of his gamers with NFL choices will play in Pasadena.
“We anticipate that nearly the whole lot of our staff will play and compete,” he stated.
Franklin wasn’t sure of offensive sort out Olu Fashanu, one other highly-regarded NFL prospect who has introduced he’ll return for the 2023 season. Fashanu missed the final 4 video games with an ankle damage.
Franklin performed the press convention Sunday night whereas he was in an airport in Kansas on the recruiting path.
The switch portal opens right now and “is about to hit sizzling and heavy right here fairly quickly,” he stated.
Penn State’s losses this season got here to Michigan and Ohio State, and each are within the four-team Faculty Soccer Playoff with No. 1 Georgia enjoying No. 4 Ohio State within the Peach Bowl and No. 2 Michigan enjoying No. 3 within the Fiesta Bowl.
Each nationwide semifinals are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 31.