By the Numbers: Rose Bowl

DALLAS – Ohio State’s thrilling 48-45 win in the Rose Bowl is only a week old and while attention has now turned to recruiting and coaching changes, fans will have months and months to savor the win, even if it was not the desired destination in a season full of promise.

I never had a chance to focus on the Rose Bowl once it happened, the following evening I was on a flight to San Antonio (Texas) to cover the All-American Bowl and turn my attention from team coverage to recruiting. I didn’t even get a chance to watch a replay of the game until Friday afternoon.

My journey home to Ohio gives me my first opportunity to talk about the game for the first time since January 1st, with the gift of knowing what was going to happen, what was going to work out and what did not work out quite as well.

Let’s take a quick look at “the numbers” from the game as we reflect upon Ohio State’s 9th Rose Bowl championship and springboard into the 2022 season.

9: As we mentioned above, this is Ohio State’s 9th ever win of the Rose Bowl, good for second all-time of any program, only trailing USC’s 25 wins. Ohio State did not appear in its first Rose Bowl until 1950, 37 years later that USC’s first appearance and 48 years later than Michigan’s first appearance. The Buckeyes have appeared in 16 Rose Bowls, giving Ohio State better than a .500 win percentage in the game. The 16 appearances are good for 3rd overall with USC playing in the New Year’s Day classic 34 times and Michigan appearing in 20. The Wolverines have only won 40-percent of their appearances in the Granddaddy of Them All.

5: Since the 2000 season, the Big Ten only has five wins in the Rose Bowl, either as a standalone game or as part of the College Football Playoff. Of those five wins, Ohio State holds three of them and the Buckeyes have not lost in the Rose Bowl since 1985. Over that same timeframe, Wisconsin is 1-4 in the game, Michigan is 0-3 and the conference has not had a non-Ohio State winner since the 2014 game when Michigan State defeated Stanford 24-20.

573: We all know by now that is the number of yards that CJ Stroud passed for, a Rose Bowl game record. There never had been a 500-yard passing game in Rose Bowl history with the No. 1 mark going to Danny O’Neil for Oregon in 1995 against Penn State in throwing for 456 yards. Just for a little more clarity, there only were four games of more than 400 passing yards in the history of the bowl.

37: Stroud’s number of completions in the game was good for second all-time in Rose Bowl history with O’Neil’s 41 coming in slightly ahead on a 41-61 passing day. Stroud’s 80.4-percent passing rate far outweighed O’Neil’s 67.2-percent completion clip.  That 80.4-percent passing day only trails Mac Jones’ 83.3-percent day against Notre Dame in 2021. Stroud’s six touchdown passes also are a record, breaking Sam Darnold’s five-touchdown mark set in the 2017 game against Penn State.

15: This one is another easy one as everyone knew that Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s 15 receptions set a Rose Bowl record, breaking J.J. Stokes’ 14-catch mark for UCLA in 1994. That 15-catch mark is good for a school record, one that already belonged to JSN as he caught 15 passes against Nebraska when Garrett Wilson was not able to go, and the Buckeyes were down a receiver. In this game, Ohio State did not have Wilson or Chris Olave and it was obvious who Ohio State’s primary target would be, but nobody was quite expecting this kind out output.

347: Talk about a big number, JSN had 347 receiving yards, shattering not only the Rose Bowl single-game record (216 – Keyshawn Johnson – USC vs. Northwestern in 1996) but almost breaking Ohio State’s single-game mark by 100 yards (253 – Terry Glenn – vs. Pittsburgh in 1996). The Buckeyes have only had four games prior with a 200-yard receiver and Smith-Njigba joins the likes of Glenn, Santonio Holmes, Gary Williams and David Boston.

683: The Buckeyes racked up 683 yards of total offense in the 2022 Rose Bowl, setting a school record for total yardage in a bowl game, shattering the recently set 639 yards picked up against Clemson in the 2021 Sugar Bowl. For all the success that Utah had against the Ohio State defense, the Utes only picked up 463 yards, but don’t forget that the Utes grabbed seven points via special teams when the Buckeyes inexplicably kept kicking the ball off to Britain Covey. The Rose Bowl total offense record checks in at 639 yards as well, Oregon’s total against Florida Stte in 2015.

48: Ohio State’s 48 points scored against Utah was only one point off of the team record set for scoring. The Buckeyes amassed 49 points against Clemson in 2021 in Ohio State’s 49-28 win over the Tigers. This is the 7th time that Ohio State has broken the 40-point mark in a bowl game, the first occasion taking place in the 1974 Rose Bowl where Ohio State doubled up USC, 42-21.

17: That is the number of tackles that Tommy Eichenberg recorded against Utah, tying a Rose Bowl record. There has not been a lot of talk about what the Buckeyes did on the defensive side as the team allowed 45 points to the feisty Utes but Eichenberg joins Percy Snow (Michigan State vs. USC – 1988) and John Boyett (Oregon vs. Wisconsin – 2012).

10.2: Ohio State set the record for yards per play on offense, shattering the old mark by half a yard. Ohio State’s 10.2 yards per play beats out Oregon versus Wisconsin in 2021 where the Ducks had 9.7 yards per play and is almost two yards better than the No. 2 game, a 8.37 yards per play game by Georgia against Oklahoma in 2018.