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Countdown To Kickoff 2022: Ohio State Outlasts Utah, 48-45

We’re counting the days until the 2022 season by the number of points the Buckeyes scored in some of their greatest victories.
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There are many ways to countdown to the upcoming college football season, though none may be more popular than naming the best player in school history by jersey number.

We've decided to do something a little different, though, and will be counting the days until Ohio State's season opener against Notre Dame on Sept. 3 by the number of points the Buckeyes scored in some of their greatest victories.

We understand that this approach won't allow us to do a daily countdown, especially with higher point totals, but we're hopeful that looking back at some of the more notable games in school history will build anticipation for the upcoming season.

With that said, let's continue the countdown...

Ohio State 48, Utah 45 - Jan. 1, 2022

C.J. Stroud threw for 573 yards and six touchdowns and Jaxon Smith-Njigba caught 15 passes for a bowl-record 347 yards and three scores to help Ohio State overcome four separate 14-point deficits to beat Utah, 48-45, in the 2022 Rose Bowl.

The Buckeyes, who were without four starters that opted out in order to avoid injury and start their preparation for the NFL Draft, gave up 35 first-half points to the Utes and trailed by two scores at intermission.

It was the highest-scoring first half in Rose Bowl history, as Ohio State and Utah combined for 42 points and 443 yards in the second quarter alone. 

That included a three-play sequence where Smith-Njigba caught a 50-yard touchdown pass, Utah’s Britain Covey returned the kickoff 97 yards for a score and Stroud found Smith-Njigba again from 52 yards out.

After limiting the Utes to just three points in the third quarter, the Buckeyes took their first lead of the game when Smith-Njigba caught his third touchdown pass of the game with just 4:22 left in the fourth quarter.

Utah responded with a six-play, 57-yard touchdown drive – engineered by backup quarterback Bryson Barnes, who replaced injured starter Cameron Rising early in the fourth quarter – to tie the game at 45 with 1:47 remaining.

Stroud then capped off his record-setting evening by leading Ohio State on a 56-yard drive that ended with a 19-yard field goal from Noah Ruggles to give the Buckeyes the 48-45 win, their second Rose Bowl victory in four years.

“To come out in the second half and play the way we did says a lot about this team,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said afterward. “We were short-handed, and for us to respond the way we did at halftime says a lot about the character of this team.”

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