SALT LAKE CITY — After a successful 11-2 regular-season record, Utah has been invited to play one last game in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 31.
The No. 11 Utes, who received their final ranking from the College Football Playoff selection committee Sunday, will make their first-ever Alamo Bowl appearance in San Antonio, Texas. Utah will play an unranked Texas team that started the season with a lot of hope and ranked No. 10 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 Poll before dropping out of the rankings.
The Longhorns finished the season with a 7-5 record and tied for third with No. 25 Oklahoma State and Kansas State in the Big 12 standings.
"It is an honor to be chosen to play in the Alamo Bowl against a great opponent such as Texas," Utah Director of Athletics Mark Harlan said in a prepared statement. "It is an incredible opportunity to chase our 12th victory and complete what has been a phenomenal season.
"I know Ute Nation, as always, will be there in full force to support this team as they look to close out the season the right way, and celebrate their accomplishments with all Ute fans."
The meeting in the Alamo Bowl will be the second time the two programs have played each other. The last meeting between the two schools was on Sept. 18, 1982 when Texas beat Utah 21-12.
"Having the opportunity for this team to play together one more time in the Alamo Bowl is something we are all looking forward to," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement. "We appreciate the invitation, and know our team and our fans will have a great experience in San Antonio. We are proud of all this team has accomplished this year, including winning a second consecutive Pac-12 South title and winning 11 games, the third-highest single-season total in school history."
Utah narrowly missed out on the Cotton Bowl, a New Year’s Six bowl game, after being ranked one spot later than No. 10 Penn State. The Utes were on the College Football Playoff bubble at No. 5, but a loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game doomed Utah’s hopes of a New Year’s Six bowl.
“Things didn't shape out that way,” senior running back Zack Moss said after the team’s loss Friday. “But this one definitely hurts. But we got another game, so shift our focus there.”
Utah will likely be without star safety Julian Blackmon, who suffered an apparent knee injury in Utah’s matchup with Oregon. The senior cornerback-turned-safety went down in the first half of play in a non-contact injury. Blackmon is one of a handful of players that left Friday night’s game due to injury.
Whittingham said it “appears to be” a season-ending injury with Blackmon and likely with backup safety R.J. Hubert, who also left the game due to injury.
“We’ll find out,” he added. “We will let you know that next week.”
The Alamo Bowl will be played on New Year’s Eve at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, at 5:30 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
Fans can purchase tickets to the bowl game here.