Highlights from the Pac-12 Championship Game at Allegiant Stadium
On Friday, December 3, 2021, the Utah Utes beat the Oregon Ducks, 38-10 at Allegiant Stadium.
The Utes got off to a fast start in the first quarter as running back Tavion Thomas ran the ball into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown. Putting Utah up 7-0 over the Ducks. Devin Loyd picked off an Oregon 34-yard pass and took it to the house.
The Utes led 14-0 after one quarter of play.
The Utes poured on their lead in the second quarter as quarterback Cameron Rising threw an 11-yard touchdown to tight end Dalton Kincaid. A missed extra point increased the lead to 20. Moments away from halftime, the Utes intercepted another pass. Kicker Jadon Redding kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired.
The Utes headed into the locker room winning big and were looking to end Oregon’s quest at a 3-peat.
Every year, when Dr. Pepper sponsors a conference Championship game, they like to put on a special event for college students that involves a Dr. Pepper sponsored Halftime Tuition Toss. They select two random collegiate students from any school and they try to compete against each other to see how many bean bags they can toss through a hole in a certain timeframe.
The winner receives $100,000 towards their college tuition, ranging from academics to nightlife.
Because the game was held at Allegiant Stadium where the Las Vegas Raiders play their home games, Allegiant wanted to incorporate the tradition of having famous artists perform at halftime. This show was different, as troop dancers from the MGM Hotel and Casino Resort, Jabbawockeez, danced to hip-hop songs. The crowd cheered loudly after the performance.
In the beginning of the third quarter, the Ducks broke the shutout as kicker Camden Lewis made a field goal from 42-yards making the score 23-3 Utes. Utah would respond with a four-yard touchdown run by TJ Pledger.
A successful two-point conversion upped the lead (31-3). It was time for both teams to throw the four fingers in the air signaling the last quarter of the game.
Utah put the game away in the fourth, as Tavion Thomas scored a three-yard touchdown pushing the lead to 38-3. Oregon added a late pride score as Travis Dye punched the ball in for 2-yards.
But it was too late. Utah won the game easily and have punched their ticket to the Rose Bowl game for the first time in program history.
The Attendance for this years Pac-12 contest drew the highest capacity in the last ten-years of the Pac-12 Championship game. The attendance was capped at 56,511 out of the maximum capacity of 65,000 at Allegiant Stadium. This is the most people attending a Pac-12 Championship game since the 2013 edition at Sun Devil Stadium, drawing 69,535 people.
That means that this year, 87 percent of the fans attended the Pac-12 Championship game. Most of the younger fans traveled from Utah and Oregon to attend. Both teams ranked in the top-15 of the CFP. They have many talented players who might be future NFL draft picks. Plus, the game was played at a newly built NFL stadium, which was great for marketing.
Because the Utes won the Pac-12 Championship and the Rose Bowl is not one of the CFP stadium hosts, they will receive the automatic bowl bid to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. It is the first time in the program’s history that they will be playing in such a big bowl with a stadium capacity larger than at Allegiant Stadium.
With the loss, The Ducks missed their chance at a three-peat and will have to wait for an at large bowl bid that will host the PAC-12 runner up. It’s possible that they could be returning to Allegiant Stadium and represent the Pac-12 in the Las Vegas Bowl on Thursday, December 30, 2021.
We will have to watch and wait and see!