No. 11 Penn State needed their defense to take over one last time this season in the 2023 Rose Bowl against No. 8 Utah. They did that and more as the Nittany Lions’ defense dominated the talented offense of the Utes, winning the Rose Bowl 35-21.

The Nittany Lions held the Utes to 391 total yards accounted for with 184 of them coming from the ground.

Penn State had a strong start defensively by holding Utah to only 47 yards in the first quarter. Utah was able to compose two scoring drives in the second quarter, but the offense was limited significantly after the injury to quarterback Cameron Rising.

Among the best defensive playmakers of the game was senior safety Ji’Ayir Brown, who led the team in total tackles (8), solo tackles (6), sacks (1.5), tackles for loss (1.5), and interceptions (1). Sophomore defensive end Demeioun Robinson also accounted for 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss.

Penn State earned its first win in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1995 when they defeated Oregon 38-20.