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Sat, Dec. 28 - 6:30 pm CST
Sat, Dec. 28 - 6:30 pm CST
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2023 Valero Alamo Bowl Game Notes

The 2023 Valero Alamo Bowl will be the third meeting ever between the two teams, and their first in 34 years. The two teams played each other in a home and away series with Oklahoma winning 28-10 in Norman in 1988 and Arizona winning 6-3 in Tucson in 1989.

This meeting marks the last time either team will be playing in their current conference as Arizona will begin playing in the Big 12 Conference next year, whereas Oklahoma will move to the SEC .

Pac-12 Conference teams are 6-10 in the Valero Alamo Bowl; current members of the Big 12 are 13-11.

This year’s Valero Alamo Bowl is the highest ranked matchup outside of the CFP and New Year’s Six bowls. The 2023 game is the 10th year the Valero Alamo Bowl matched the top Big 12 team against the top Pac-12 team outside the CFP. These selection rights have brought teams with an average CFP ranking of #16 to San Antonio, tops among all non-CFP bowls.

The last nine Valero Alamo Bowl Champions have averaged 39.9 points a game, and four of those nine finished the season ranked in the final AP Top 10.

With another large offensive output expected, Valero Alamo Bowl passing records to note::439 passing yards (Washington’s Keith Price in 2011), 54 attempts (Washington’s Michael Penix, Jr. in 2022 to put him ahead of Drew Brees’ 53 in 1998 and Nick Foles’ 50 attempts in 2010), 77.8 completion percentage (Oklahoma’s Caleb Williams in 2022), and four passing touchdowns (Washington’s Keith Price in 2011 and Texas’ Casey Thompson in 2020).

The Bowl’s receiving records are:198 yards receiving (Washington’s Jermaine Kearse in 2011), 13 receptions (Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett in 2014), and 3 receiving touchdowns (Stanford’s J.J. Arecega-Whiteside in 2016).

Last year’s Valero Alamo Bowl matchup between Washington and Texas is this year’s CFP semifinal in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. 2022 Valero Alamo Bowl Offensive MVP Penix was this year’s Heisman runner-up, the fourth Alamo Bowl alum to finish second in Heisman voting along with Michael Bishop (1998), Colt McCoy (2008), and Bryce Love (2017).

Five Valero Alamo Bowl alums have won the Heisman: Charles Woodson (1997), Eric Crouch (2001), Robert Griffin III (2011, played in Valero Alamo Bowl same year), Marcus Mariota (2014), and Caleb Williams (2022).

#14 Arizona (9-3, 6-2 Pac-12) is the second straight Pac-12 team to play in the Valero Alamo Bowl riding a six game win streak. Last year Washington won the Valero Alamo Bowl for their seventh straight win before going 13-0 this season, giving them the NCAA’s current longest winning streak. 

The Wildcats’ eight-game improvement from 2021 (1-11) to this season (9-3) is the best in program history.

Arizona has fewer than 10 players with postseason experience, but one of those (linebacker Justin Flowe) was on Oregon’s roster for the 2021 Valero Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma.

Arizona has one prior Valero Alamo Bowl appearance as an unranked Wildcats team led by quarterback Nick Foles lost to a #14 Oklahoma State squad quarterbacked by Brandon Weeden 36-10.

Wildcats quarterback Noah Fifita threw for a school record 527 yards with five touchdowns in his last game, a 59-23 win over in-state rival Arizona State. For the season, he’s #4 in the nation with a 73.6 completion percentage.

Fifita’s top target is wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan who has 80 catches on the season including 11 grabs for 266 yards in the Territorial Cup. 

#12 Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) is making its 25th consecutive bowl appearance, and second in the Valero Alamo Bowl in three years after beating #14 Oregon 47-32 in 2021 with interim head coach and College Football Hall of Famer Bob Stoops at the helm. 

In that win, the Sooners had 24 second quarter points.The top two scoring outputs in Bowl history for a quarter are Nebraska’s 31 against Northwestern in 2000 and Baylor’s 29 against Washington in 2011. This season OU is averaging 43/2 points per game, #3 in the nation.

The Sooners only other previous Alamodome appearance was a 38-17 win over #1 ranked Missouri in the 2007 Big 12 Championship. Head Coach Brent Venables was defensive coordinator for the #9 ranked Sooners in that upset. 

Venables’ other coaching experience in San Antonio was in the 1998 Alamo Bowl as linebackers coach for #4 ranked Kansas State in their 37-34 loss to a Drew Brees led Purdue team.

Sooners Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line Bill Bendenbaugh had a similar role for Arizona head coach Mike Stoops’ 2010 team that played in the Valero Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma State.

A Sooner victory in the Valero Alamo Bowl would give them their 11th win on the season for the 27th time which is tops in the NCAA.

Freshman quarterback Jackson Arnold is projected to make his first start for the Sooners. The 2022 Gatorade National Player of the Year out of Denton Guyer, Arnold was one of five 5-star QBs in the class of 2023. 

The Sooners leading receiver is Drake Stoops with 78 catches for 880 yards this season including 10+ receptions in three of the last four games. Stoops also caught a touchdown in the 2021 Valero Alamo Bowl with his Dad on the sideline as the Sooners interim head coach.

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