UTAH UTES

What Utah Can Capitalize On Against Northwestern In Holiday Bowl

Dec 2, 2018, 9:49 PM
Clayton Thorson #18 of the Northwestern Wildcats throws a pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes duri...
Clayton Thorson #18 of the Northwestern Wildcats throws a pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Big Ten Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 1, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah will have a tough test on New Year’s Eve when they take on Big Ten runner-up Northwestern in the Holiday Bowl.

The bowl matchup with be the third time that the Utes and Wildcats have faced each other with the first meeting dating back to 1927 as Northwestern beat Utah 13-6 in Evanston, Illinois. In 1981, Utah returned the favor with a 42-0 win on the road.

Since 2003, Northwestern has appeared in 10 bowl games with a 3-7 record. But they are bowl eligible for four straight seasons and have won their last two games. They beat Kentucky last season in the Music City Bowl.

Both Utah and Northwestern have never played in the Holiday bowl.

Northwestern 2018 Season

The Wildcats finished the season with an 8-5 overall record and 8-1 in the Big Ten and won the west division.

A rocky start to the season saw the Wildcats beating Purdue but lost to Duke during week two. They lost to Akron and No. 14 Michigan before they ended their three game losing streak.

They won their next four games against Michigan State, Nebraska, Rutgers and Wisconsin before losing to Notre Dame. Northwestern won their last three games versus Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois to wrap up their regular season.

The Wildcats lost to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship 45-24.

They are coached by Pat Fitzgerald, who is in his 13th season at the helm.

Wildcats Offense

Senior quarterback Clayton Thorson has thrown for 2,942 yards, 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Freshman running back Isaiah Bowser racked up 796 yards and six touchdowns while Jeremy Larkin added five scores.

Northwestern Defense

Their sophomore linebacker Blake Gallagher is the anchor of their defense with 120 tackles, including six and a half for a loss.

Joe Gaziano leads the team with six and a half sacks while Jordan Thompson is second on the team with three sacks.

The leaders in the secondary are J.R. Pace and Nate Hall with three interceptions each.


Utah will face Northwestern in the Holiday Bowl at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego, California on Monday, December 31. The game will begin at 5 p.m. on FS1.

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