The legacy of Penn State’s 2022 football season rests on a compelling matchup with No. 8 Utah in the Rose Bowl. The Lions (10-2) lost only to his two states in the playoffs, Michigan and Ohio, but were unable to beat the final top 25 teams in the college football playoff rankings. .
As a result, the Rose Bowl could shake the Lions’ perception of this season and its future.
“If Pennsylvania State can upset this Utah team in the Rose Bowl, it will definitely be the start of building hopes and growth into 2023,” said football analyst Gorick Jr.
upset? that’s what he said. A former Notre Dame lineman, now he’s a DraftKings analyst and former teammate he hosts his GoJo podcast with Brandon Newman. A fascinating game he called one.
In a recent interview, Golic talked about the matchup, his appreciation for Penn State’s freshman Bucks, and what Penn State has to do to win its first Rose Bowl since 1995.
question: OK, you said the word “upset” there. Why would it be upsetting for Penn State to beat Utah?
Mike Golic Jr.: I think Utah overall is better at how they play, especially in the second half of the season. And some of them are quarterbacks. Around Penn State, conversations with Sean Clifford are always complicated. He’s a very good college quarterback. I think Utah on Cam Rising is better. Between mobility, determination, and the overall way he directs that offense, it looks like I’m a little more there and now winning the Pac-12 Championship.
I know it’s impossible to have that conversation without mentioning [USC quarterback] Caleb Williams’ hamstring injury and how it affected [Pac-12 championship] Game, but physically beaten both sides of the USC ball. Utah’s playoff hopes were dashed when they were punched in the mouth against Florida in Week 1 of the season.But the response from them is combined with what that offense did on the ground, the tight end room, and the standard-setting defense we saw [coach] I think Kyle Whittingham has been the trench team I worry about for a while.
Q: How fair is it to call Utah a Big Ten team in Pac-12 clothes? Are they playing with the Big Ten mentality?
Gorik: I think so. We believe that all these meetings have traditional identities. You used to have to manipulate conference identities to win, right? That’s what Michigan is at the top level of the Big Ten. Ohio was built to win the National Championship, Michigan was built to win the Big Ten. And at some point, over the last few seasons, it has. Utah, I think you’re right, I’m in a similar position. This is not to say that the Pac-12 has no other physical team. …but I think Utah is certainly the team that brought a physical mindset that might have been associated with Oregon when Mario Cristobal was there for a few years. I think the food has a lot of flavor from Big His Ten.
Q: I’ve seen Penn State freshmen running Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen directly in the back. What impression did they leave?
Gorik: I just think they are confident. For these guys, it’s the home run ability and that’s what it adds to the offense.As an offensive lineman, being at the bottom of the pile, keeping his head up, 40 yards below him on the field. When you see Nick Singleton streaking for a touchdown on the , get out there and sell out on every play given. It’s like playing alongside a mobile he quarterback who is a great playmaker. You know that every play has the potential to become a play. They were both consistent and dependable, but I think their home run ability has always been a big breaker, especially on this offense.
Q: What impact has Manny Diaz made as Penn State’s defensive coordinator this season?
Gorik: One was that he had good weapons.like [defensive tackle] The backbone of that defense, PJ Mustiffer, is a very proud veteran you’ve had to work there. [Linebacker] Abdul Carter and what he can do, especially as the season progresses. You felt them grow in confidence and he gets more snaps. He’s a very talented guy and looks like he knows number 11 all too well. And when you combine that with a trusty cornerback, a lot is possible. And that’s what Manny Diaz did.
His defense was really variable. … In these ways, Manny gave them a schematic advantage to actually stress opposing attacks at specific locations. These kinds of defenses require a lot from neck to top. So what Penn State accomplished in his first year is impressive.And listen, they had a really nice stretch with the previous coordinator [Brent Pry]and for seasoned coaches like Manny, getting into situations where men are used to doing things a certain way has always been a challenge, and by and large has worked quite well for them. I think he did really well this season to meet and still be able to leave his mark.
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Q: Back to Rose Bowl. If Utah wins…
Gorik: If Come Rising comes out and he steps up and has a game like we’ve seen in the big games, I think Utah will win. That’s one of the things that stuck with me the most. If you look at him firsthand, he’s fast enough to make you pay for him at the college level, and behind the scenes tough enough to be willing to risk it in a very important situation. make decisive decisions. If he is allowed to play in such a rhythm and they are allowed to decide the terms of the attack in their own way, then if he is decisive, I think they will win.
Q: Pennsylvania State Wins…
Gorik: For Penn State, if they can control the ball and make big plays, they win. That was the signature part of this attack, being able to hit from ground distance and pry holes for those freshmen. And if Sean Clifford can avoid a major turnover. I think it’s a clean game.
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