The 2019 Valero Alamo Bowl was the final game in a six-year agreement to match the Pac-12 and Big 12 conferences’ top teams after the CFP selections. The previous five games brought San Antonio Top 25 matchups with an average team ranking of #14. Four of those five games went down to the wire including the last two games that were each decided by two points.
The streak of highly ranked matchups was broken with this year’s game between #11 Utah and an unranked Texas team. However, it did feature interesting storylines.
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, the 2019 Dodd Trophy Coach of the Year, came into the game with an 11-2 overall bowl record, the #2 all-time winning percentage in NCAA history. His Utes boasted the nation’s best run defense, the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year in running back Zach Moss and All-Pac-12 first team defensive end Bradlee Anae.
In his young career as head coach, Texas’ Tom Herman also excelled in bowl games as his teams won all three previous bowl games (2-0 in the Sugar and Texas bowls at Texas and 1-0 at the Peach Bowl while he was at Houston). This year, his Longhorns had one of the nation’s best dual threat quarterbacks in Sam Ehlinger along with All-Big 12 first team receiver Devin Duvernay and an attacking defense that was getting healthy.
In the game, Ehlinger led the Longhorns to a score on their first possession and one of the most surprising results of bowl season as Texas upset Utah 38-10. Ehlinger’s four touchdowns (3 passing and 1 rushing), three dramatic catches from Duvernay and Joseph Ossai’s six tackles for loss paced the Longhorns.
It was the second biggest upset in Valero Alamo Bowl history behind unranked Purdue’s 37-34 win over #4 Kansas State. Ironically both the Boilermakers and Longhorns were led by Austin Westlake High School graduates in Drew Brees and Ehlinger, respectively.
A crowd of 60,147 attended the game which is 93% of the Alamdome’s capacity and was a higher total than two of this year’s CFP games. In addition, ESPN viewership of the game was the #2 highest total of all of the non-CFP games.
The 2020 Valero Alamo Bowl game date is scheduled to be announced in April and will kick off a six-year extension of the current Pac-12 vs. Big 12 match-up.