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Sat, Dec. 28 - 6:30 pm CST
Sat, Dec. 28 - 6:30 pm CST
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#14 Arizona to face #12 Oklahoma in the 2023 Valero Alamo Bowl

The #14 Arizona Wildcats will face the #12 Oklahoma Sooners in the 31st annual Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28 at 8:15 p.m. CST in the Alamodome and will broadcast live on ESPN.

This year’s game is the highest ranked matchup outside of the College Football Playoff (CFP)/New Year’s Six and is the 7th time in the last 10 years a Valero Alamo Bowl has featured two Top 20 teams.

Arizona is 9-3 overall and 7-2 in Pac-12 play. Designated as the visiting team and occupying the east sideline, the Wildcats are led by Jedd Fisch who is in his third season as UA head coach. Fisch has led the Wildcats to their first bowl appearance since 2017 and the program’s seventh nine-win season.

Redshirt Freshman quarterback Noah Fifita ranks second in the Pac-12 in completion percentage (73.6%) and third in pass efficiency (167.5) in his first full collegiate season. Fifita also ranks sixth in the nation in total quarterback rating (85.5). 

Fisch approaches this year’s matchup with plenty of bowl game experience of his own. Despite spending 13 years on NFL coaching staffs, Fisch has coached in six bowl games, with one of those appearances as a head coach in 2017 when his UCLA Bruins played in the Cactus Bowl against Kansas State.

The Sooners enter the game with a 10-2 overall record and a 7-2 mark in Big 12 play. Designated as the home team and occupying the west sideline, the Sooners are led by second-year head coach Brent Venables, who leads a program that ranks third nationally by averaging 43.2 points per game and fifth in the country by averaging 502.4 yards per game.

Venables, having served as a coach in the 1998 Builders Square Alamo Bowl with Kansas State, will be coaching in the 33rd bowl game of his career and just his second as a head coach. His previous post-season experience includes three national championships (one with Oklahoma, two with Clemson). Venables led Oklahoma to an improved record in his second season, having gone 6-7 overall in 2022.

Both programs will be playing in the Valero Alamo Bowl for only the second time in their history. Arizona previously played in the 2010 bowl game versus Oklahoma State, losing 38-10 as the Cowboys and quarterback Brandon Weeden outdueled the Wildcats and QB Nick Foles.

Oklahoma’s only other Valero Alamo Bowl appearance came in 2021 when it defeated Oregon 47-32 in an offensive shootout.  The Sooners also played in the Alamodome for the 2007 Big 12 Championship, upsetting #1-ranked Missouri 38-17.

Arizona and Oklahoma played each other on two previous occasions. The series is split 1-1 between the two teams, with Oklahoma winning the first matchup 28-10 in 1988 in Norman and Arizona winning 6-3 the following year in Tucson.

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