No. 11 Utah and Texas to play in 2019 Valero Alamo Bowl

No. 11 Utah and Texas have accepted invitations to play in the Valero Alamo Bowl on December 31, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. CST in San Antonio’s 65,000-seat Alamodome.

Designated the home team and occupying the west sideline, Texas is led by Head Coach Tom Herman. In his 3rd season leading the Longhorns, Herman coached Texas to bowl wins in his first two seasons (Texas and Sugar, respectively) and a 7-5 regular season record in 2019.

Coach Herman said, “We’re a young team that had some injuries and we didn’t exactly meet our expectations, but I think our kids play really hard. We’ve got some good young talent, and we’re excited to be there.”

The Longhorn offense is led by third year quarterback, Sam Ehlinger who threw for 3,462 yards and 29 touchdowns, and accounted for 4,052 yards of total offense. Ehlinger’s 29 passing touchdowns are tied for the second-most in school history and he is only the third Longhorn to record more than 4,000 yards of total offense in a season behind Longhorn Legends Vince Young and Colt McCoy.

Texas’ strong passing offense is rounded out by All-America candidate wide receiver Devin Duvernay, who has staked his claim as one of college football’s best receivers with his play in 2019. Duvernay leads the country in receptions per game at 8.6 and total receptions at 103. His 1,294 receiving yards are fourth among FBS receivers this season.

Utah is led by 15-year Head Coach Kyle Whittingham. This season Utah took first place in the Pac-12 South and finished the regular season with an 11-2 record. In his coaching career, Whittingham has 11 bowl wins and the second best bowl win percentage in NCAA history with 84%.

Utah’s Coach Whittingham said, “First of all, we’re excited for our first trip to the Valero Alamo Bowl. Quite a few players on the roster are from the state of Texas so that’ll be a good experience for those guys to be able to get back home and play in front of some of their family…We’ve got a lot of respect to this Texas team. We came up a little bit short on the last game but with an elite quarterback, running back and defense we’ve got some things going for us.”

Utah’s dominate offense is led by Senior Quarterback Tyler Huntley, who ranks among the best QBs in the country. He ranks 2nd in completion percentage at 73.7%, 4th in yards-per-pass attempt with 10.67, and 8th in yards per completion with 14.47. Utah’s running game is led by senior Zack Moss, who is ranked 6th in most rushing yards among all active FBS Players with 4,010 total yards.

In addition to Utah’s offensive strength, their defense lead by seniors Bradlee Anae and Leki Fotu, continues to rank among the best in the FBS. They are ranked first in rushing defense with an average 70.3 yards per game, third in total defense with 256.2 average yards per game, fourth in yards per play and first downs allowed and sixth in scoring defense.

Utah (11-2) and Texas (7-5) will be meeting for the second time ever. Texas won 21-12 in a 1982 meeting between the two schools.

The Longhorns will be playing in its fourth Valero Alamo Bowl. Utah will be making their first appearance in San Antonio, although the Utes were the runners up in the 1998 Men’s NCAA Final Four in San Antonio.

The 2019 Valero Alamo Bowl will be the fifth year of a conference agreement to match the #1 Big 12 and #1 Pac-12 teams outside of the CFP selections. The conference agreement started in 2014 and was extended last year to go through the 2025 college football season.

The Valero Alamo Bowl will kick off on Tuesday, December 31 at 6:30 p.m. CST. Tickets are available at www.alamobowl.com or the Alamodome Box Office (Monday-Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.).

This is the sixth and final year of the Bowl’s first agreement with the Big 12 and Pac-12 schools to send their top schools outside the CFP to San Antonio. This agreement has been extended for the 2020 – 2024. Here are the first five:

•          Jan. 2, 2015:  #14 UCLA 40 vs. #11 Kansas State 35

•          Jan. 2, 2016:  #11 TCU 47 vs. #15 Oregon 41 (3OT)

•          Dec. 29, 2016: #12 Oklahoma State 38 vs. #10 Colorado 8

•          Dec. 28, 2017:  #15 TCU 39 vs. #13 Stanford 37

•          Dec. 28, 2018:  #14 Washington State 28 vs. #24 Iowa State 26

Game Notes:

  • This is the second time Texas and Utah have faced each other. Texas won 21-12 in a 1982 meeting between the two schools in Austin.
  • Texas will be playing in its fourth Valero Alamo Bowl tying Iowa and Oklahoma State for the most all-time appearances.
  • Quarterback Colt McCoy led the Longhorns to a 26-24 come-from-behind win in 2006. Texas then played back-to-back in San Antonio 2012 and 2013. The 2012 game was a 31-27 win over #13 Oregon followed by a 30-7 loss against Marcus Mariota and the #10 Oregon Ducks in head coach Mack Brown’s last game as a Longhorn.
  • This year’s 2019 kickoff is in an unopposed TV window on Tuesday, December 31 at 6:30 p.m. the day after the primetime broadcast of the Capital One Orange Bowl and the night before the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
  • Texas’ prior three Valero Alamo Bowl appearances averaged 7.4 million viewers which is 26% higher than the game’s 5.9 million average viewership since 2005.
  • Utah will be making their first appearance in San Antonio, although the Utes were the runners up in the 1998 Men’s NCAA Final Four in San Antonio.
  • Since the Pac-12 Championship game debuted in 2011, the loser of that game has also lost their bowl game. If the Utes break that eight-game streak this year, they will improve to 5-0 all-time in bowl games in Texas.
  • This is the Valero Alamo Bowl’s first New Year’s Eve game since the first two games in 1993 and 1994.
  • Eleven Valero Alamo Bowls since 2005 have been decided in the final minutes of the game including the 2017 and 2018 games that were each decided by two points.
  • This is Year #6 of a six-year agreement to match up the #1 team in the Pac-12 against the #1 team in the Big 12 after the CFP selections. The Big 12 holds a 3-2 advantage over the Pac-12 during this time. This partnership has been extended for the 2020 – 2025 seasons.

Texas Game Notes

  • In his first two seasons at Texas, head coach Tom Herman led the Longhorns to victories in the Texas and Sugar Bowls. Herman spent his first two years as a head coach at the University of Houston. The Cougars went bowling both years highlighted by a Peach Bowl win to cap off a 13-1 season in 2015.
  • Head coach Tom Herman’s overall bowl record is 3-0 including two New Year’s Six Bowl game wins.
  • The Longhorns’ offense is led by third-year quarterback, Sam Ehlinger who threw for 3,462 yards and 29 touchdowns, and accounted for 4,052 yards of total offense. The Valero Alamo Bowl record for most touchdowns is 7 (4 passing and 3 rushing) set by Washington quarterback Keith Price in 2011.
  • Wide receiver Devin Duvernay staked his claim as one of college football’s best receivers with his play in 2019. Duvernay leads the country in receptions per game at 8.6 and total receptions at 103. Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett holds the Valero Alamo Bowl’s all-time reception record with 13 on January 2, 2015.

Utah Game Notes

  • In Coach Kyle Whittingham’s 15th year leading the Utes they finished the regular season as Pac-12 South Champions with an 11-1 record earning him Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors.
  • This is the fourth-straight year the Pac-12 Coach of the Year will be on the sidelines for the Valero Alamo Bowl.
  • Utah is 7-0 when they score first and 10-0 when they lead at halftime. Both Utah losses were at night.
  • A win in the Valero Alamo Bowl would give the Utes their highest win total since 2008 when they went 13-0 and were Sugar Bowl Champions.
  • Whittingham boasts the second-best bowl win percentage in NCAA history at 84% with an 11-2 record.
  • The Utes are 4-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings against Big 12 opponents including a 30-14 win against West Virginia in the 2017 Heart of Dallas Bowl.
  • Senior quarterback Tyler Huntley ranks 2nd in completion percentage at 73.7%, 4th in yards-per-pass attempt with 10.67, and 8th in yards per completion with 14.47. The Valero Alamo Bowl record for completion percentage is 77% set by Washington State’s Chad Davis in 1994, the game’s last New Year’s Eve kickoff.
  • Zach Moss has rushed for more than 200 yards twice in his Utah career. Both 200+ totals were on the road: 211 yard vs. UCLA on 10/26/18 and 203 yards vs. Arizona on 11/23/19. The Valero Alamo Bowl has two 200 yard rushers in its 26-year history: Nebraska’s Dan Alexander (240 yards vs. Northwestern in 2000) and Baylor’s Terrance Ganaway (200 vs. Washington in 2011).
  • All-American and Ted Hendricks Award finalist defensive end, Bradlee Anae, has 12.5 sacks this season and 29.5 for his career. Texas’ Alex Okafor set the Valero Alamo Bowl all-time sack record with 4.5 in 2012 in the Longhorns win over Oregon State.
  • Utah leads FBS in rushing defense (70.3) with opponents averaging just 2.69 yards per carry. The Utes also rank third in total defense (256.2), sixth in FBS in scoring defense (13.2) and 12th in red zone defense (.720).

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