Beat-up No. 20 Utes Face Northwestern In Holiday Bowl

Dec 31, 2018, 4:46 PM
Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham gestures during NCAA football against the USC Trojans in Salt...
Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham gestures during NCAA football against the USC Trojans in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)
(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Utah is looking for its 15th win in its last 16 bowl games dating to the 1999 Las Vegas Bowl. The Utes are 11-1 in bowl games under coach Kyle Whittingham. Whittingham played in the first four Holiday Bowls, for BYU. Northwestern is looking for school-best three-game bowl winning streak.

Key Matchup

Northwestern’s defense against a Utah offense that will be missing junior running back Zack Moss, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on Nov. 7, and sophomore receiver Britain Covey, who suffered a knee injury in the Pac-12 championship game. Additionally, junior quarterback Tyler Huntley will be a game-time decision after missing the last four games with a broken collarbone.

Players To Watch

Northwestern: Senior Clayton Thorson, already the program’s all-time winningest quarterback at 35-17, needs 91 yards passing to break Brett Basanez’s school record of 10,580.

Utah: Senior kicker Matt Gay was the 2017 Lou Groza Award winner and punter Mitch Wishnowsky is the only three-time Ray Guy Award finalist in NCAA history. Wishnowsky won the Ray Guy Award in 2016.

Facts & Figures

The teams are in the Holiday Bowl for the first time. … The Utes won the Pac-12 South before losing to Washington in the conference title game, 10-3. … Northwestern won the Big Ten West before losing to Ohio State in the conference championship game, 45-24. … The teams haven’t met since Utah won 42-0 on Sept. 26, 1981. … Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald, who is 95-70 in 13 seasons, declined to comment on reports that the Green Bay Packers are interested in interviewing him for their head coaching job.

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Beat-up No. 20 Utes Face Northwestern In Holiday Bowl