Ohio St. vs


at Pasadena
Sat, Jan 1
2:00 PM Pacific
Rotation: 281
Odds: Utah +4, Total: 64

Game Analysis

Create an account to get analysis and updates sent to your inbox.

2-Star Best Bet – **Ohio State (-4)  40   Utah  27

Utah was the best team in the Pac-12 this season, but that’s not saying much given that the Pac 12 is 3-22 straight up against average or better non-conference opponents this season (0-4 already in bowl games). One of those wins was against Ohio State, who lost to Oregon in week 2. Utah beat the crap out of Oregon twice and while looking at the head-to-head results leads to an easy conclusion; I think it’s the wrong conclusion. Ohio State is much better than Utah, even with the absence of 4 NFL bound players that have opted out of this game.

Utah is certainly a better team now than they were when the lost as favorites to BYU and San Diego State early in the season, as switching to Cam Rising at quarterback elevated the Utes’ offense. Rising has been 1.0 yards per pass play better than average (7.4 yppp against teams that would allow 6.4 yppp to an average QB) and Tavion Thomas leads a 3-headed rushing attack (4 if you count Rising) that has averaged 6.2 yards per rushing play (against teams that would allow 4.8 yprp). Overall, Utah’s offense rates at 1.2 yards per play better than average with Rising at quarterback.

The Ohio State defense struggled early in the season, allowing 31 points to Minnesota and 35 points in that loss to Oregon but they switched defensive play-callers after the loss to the Ducks and the defense improved. Getting healthy also helped, as the Buckeyes had some key starters miss games early in the season, including CB Cameron Brown, who missed 3 games (and still ended up #2 on the team with 8 passes defended). Ohio State only allowed an average of 16 points per game from week 3 through 12 before giving up 42 points to Michigan. The 299 rushing yards they gave up to the Wolverines is a concern, but overall the Buckeyes were 0.5 yards per rushing play better than average against the run this season and their pass defense is 1.0 yppp better than average. Star DT Haskell Garrett has opted out of the game and I have him valued at 0.7 points. Utah should be able to run it well (5.8 yprp projected) and I project the Utes to gain 401 yards at 6.0 yards per play.

Utah has a very good rushing attack and a good quarterback, but Ohio State has an even better rushing attack and the best passing game in the nation. The Buckeyes average 6.4 yprp (against teams that would allow 4.8 yprp to an average team) and quarterback C.J. Stroud has completed 71% of his passes while averaging 9.2 yppp against teams that would allow just 5.9 yppp to an average quarterback (the best compensated rating in the nation).

The Ohio State offense was 2.6 yppl better than average in the regular season, which is nearly a full yard per play better than the second most efficient offense in the nation, which is the same margin as the margin between #2 offense Georgia and the #26 rated offense. Wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, along with LT Nicholas Petit-Frere have opted out, but there is still plenty of talent on the Buckeyes’ offense. Wilson and Olave combined for 9.7 yards per target, but the rest of the Buckeyes’ wide receivers combined for 11.4 YPT. Ohio State’s best receiver has been Jaxon Smith-Njibga, who averaged 13.0 YPT and had an incredible 71% success rate (56% combined for Wilson and Olave) and Smith-Njibga was targeted 18 times for 240 yards in the game that Wilson missed this season. Wilson does get double-teamed more often than other receivers, and the backup receivers averaged only 8.8 YPT, which balances out some of the positive affect of targeting Smith-Njibga more often. I did deduct some for Wilson’s absence (nothing for Olave, who’s 9.2 YPT and 52% success rate was sub-standard for this offense), which resulted in 0.7 points less in Ohio State’s projected scoring. Losing their NFL-caliber left tackle is worth another 0.9 points.

Utah has a good defense, but the Utes aren’t as good as their stats suggest. Utah was fortunate to have faced the worst of the quarterbacks when they played Washington State, UCLA and Stanford – avoiding good quarterbacks in each of those games. Utah still rates as a very good defensive team, allowing 5.0 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.7 yppl against an average defensive team (adjusted for the quarterbacks they faced). That’s only 0.3 yppl better than the average defensive rating of the 11 teams that the Buckeyes averaged 44.3 points and 547 total yards against with Stroud at quarterback (he missed the game vs Akron). The Buckeyes were helped by 5 defensive touchdowns in those games but would have likely scored a few times on the possessions they lost due to those defensive TDs. My math projects 498 total yards at 7.2 yppl and 40 points for the Buckeyes in this game.

The math favors Ohio State by 13.0 points with a total of 66.2 points (not adjusted yet for what looks like calm weather). Ohio State is a 2-Star Best Bet at -5 or less and a 1-Star up to -6 (Strong Opinion at -6.5).

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Ohio St.
  • Utah


  • Run Plays 31.3 30.3
  • Run Yards 199.7 141.1
  • YPRP 6.4 4.7


  • Pass Comp 26.4 22.0
  • Pass Att 37.3 36.3
  • Comp % 70.8% 60.6%
  • Pass Yards 373.7 247.3
  • Sacks 1.3 3.0
  • Sack Yards 10.7 20.0
  • Sack % 3.4% 7.6%
  • Pass Plays 38.7 39.3
  • Net Pass Yards 363.0 227.3
  • YPPP 9.4 5.8


  • Total Plays 70.0 69.6
  • Total Yards 562.7 368.4
  • YPPL 8.0 5.3


  • Int 0.6 1.0
  • Int % 1.6% 2.8%
  • Fumbles 0.2 0.6
  • Turnovers 0.8 1.6
  • Points 45.5 20.9
Share This