SALT LAKE CITY –When the Utah football team takes the field at the Rose Bowl on January 1, they will face a Heisman Trophy finalist in Ohio State QB CJ Stroud.
CJ Stroud finished fourth in the 2021 Heisman Trophy voting with Alabama star QB Bryce Young taking home the award. Stroud is the fifth player Utah will face since 2005 who was a finalist for college football’s highest individual award. This is the first time in the Kyle Whittingham era that Utah will face a Heisman Trophy finalist in a bowl game.
Here is a list of the Heisman Trophy finalists that Utah saw during Kyle Whittingham’s time. This only considers facing the finalists in the same season they were named finalists and were in the top five to vote.
Marqise Lee, USC – 2012
Utah hosted Marqise Lee and the USC Trojans on October 4, 2012. Lee finished with 12 receptions for 192 yards and a touchdown, while racking up an 11-yard rush. The Trojans defeated the Utes 38-28 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Lee was fourth in the Heisman vote after racking up 118 catches for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns that season. Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel won the award in 2012.
Marcus Mariota, Oregon – 2014
On November 8, 2014, Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks arrived in Salt Lake City and defeated the Utes 51-27. Mariota completed 17 of his 29 passing attempts for 239 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 114 yards and one more score.
Mariota won the Heisman Trophy after racking up 4,454 yards, 42 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Oregon went to the national championship game that season before losing to Urban Meyer and Ohio State.
Bryce Love, Stanford – 2017
The Utes hosted Bryce Love and Stanford on October 7, 2017. Stanford earned a 23-20 victory over Utah. Love finished with 152 rushing yards and a touchdown in the win.
Love was second in the Heisman vote, behind Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield. he totaled 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2017.
Gardner Minshew, Washington State – 2018
Utah went to the Pullman to face Gardner Minshew and Washington State on September 29, 2018. The WSU overtook the Utes with a 28-24 victory. Minshew completed 31 of his 56 attempted passes for 445 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Minshew finished fifth in the Heisman vote as Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray took home the award.
Utah will face CJ Stroud and Ohio State on Saturday, January 1, 2022 at 3 p.m. MT on ESPN.
Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes insider for KSLSports.com, co-host of the Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.