Early Look At Utah’s Alamo Bowl Opponent, Texas Longhorns
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After a disappointing weekend for the Utes, they will face a recognized program in college football in a bowl game that they have never played in before.
The Texas Longhorns and the Utes will face each other for just the second time in program history. The first meeting took place in Austin back in 1982 with the Longhorns winning the game, 21-12.
It’s the first time that Utah will appear in the Alamo Bowl, while Texas will be making their fourth appearance in the game. In 2006 they beat Iowa by two points. Their next appearance was in 2012 when they beat Oregon State and their last showing was the next season with a loss to Oregon in 2013.
The Longhorns will play in their 56th bowl game and have a 28-25-2 record. Utah is 11-2 in bowl games under head coach Kyle Whittingham.
Regular Season Results
Texas finished with a 7-5 overall and a 5-4 mark in the Big 12 Conference, finishing third in the standings. They opened the season with a convincing 45-14 win over Louisiana Tech at home before losing to then-No. 6 LSU 45-38 in Austin. The Longhorns bounced back with three straight wins, beating Rice by 35, Oklahoma State by six points and West Virginia by 11.
They lost the Red River Rivalry game against then-No. 6 Oklahoma by a touchdown. Texas bounced back with a two point win over Kansas at home before losing to TCU by 10 points on the road. The Longhorns picked up a big win over then-No. 16 Kansas State by three points at home. They lost their next two games on the road against Iowa State by two points and to then-No. 14 Baylor by 14 points. Texas finished the regular season with a 49-24 win over Texas Tech at home.
On offense, Texas averages the third most total yards per game average in the conference at 468.2 yards per game. Through the air, they average 296.2 yards per game, which is good for fourth in the conference. Texas racks up 172 rushing yards per contest, which is sixth in the conference and score 35 points per game, that is good for third in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma and Baylor.
Their defense has struggled this season, averaging 446.3 total yards allowed per game, which is 8th in the conference. They allow the second most passing yards per game in the conference at 306.4 per game. Texas has a good rush defense that gives up 139.8 rushing yards per game, which is fourth in the Big 12. Finally, they allow 28.9 points per game, which is the eighth most in the conference.
The Longhorns have a lot of talented players on their roster. Even though they underachieved from their preseason expectations, Texas has players that could present problems for the Utes. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger has thrown for 3,462 yards (3rd in Big 12), completing 65 percent of his passes (4th) for 29 touchdowns (2nd) and 9 interceptions (5th most in Big 12). He also has 152 carries for 590 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground.
They use another quarterback in their running attack, Roshchon Johnson has 117 attempts for 600 yards and 7 touchdowns. Sophomore running back Keaontay Ingram is their leading rusher with 745 yards (8th in Big 12) and 6 touchdowns on 131 carries, averaging 5.7 yards per attempt.
Senior wide receiver Devin Duvernay is clearly their top target through the air with 103 catches for 1,294 yards and 8 touchdowns. Brennan Eagles is second on the team with 30 receptions for 518 yards and 6 touchdowns.
On defense, Brandon Jones leads the team with 86 tackles (7th in Big 12) as a defensive back. He also has one sack, four pass deflections, two interceptions, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Linebacker Juwan Mitchell is their leader in sacks with 3, both Ayodele Adeoye and Ta’Quon Graham have 2.5 sacks each. Defensive back D’Shawn Jamison has 3 interceptions (6th in Big12) to lead the Longhorns. Texas doesn’t have a defensive touchdown this season.
Coaching Staff Changes
After the regular season ended, head coach Tom Herman made some changes on his coaching staff after the Longhorns underachieved this season. They started with a top 10 ranking in the preseason poll before ending the year unranked. Herman fired defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Todd Orlando, passing game coordinator and outside receivers coach Drew Mehringer and inside receivers coach Corby Meekins. Finally, Herman removed the offensive coordinator responsibilities from Tim Beck, but he will continue to be the quarterbacks coach through the bowl game. Orlando and Mehringer will no longer be on staff, while Meekins will continue to be on staff in an administrative capacity.
Co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Craig Naivar will assume defensive coordinator responsibilities on an interim basis. Two members from the support staff will take on assistant coaching roles during bowl preparation. They named football analyst Andre Coleman as the interim wide receivers coach and fellow analyst Jeremiah George will be the interim linebackers coach.
The Alamo Bowl will be played on Tuesday, December 31 at 5:30 p.m. The game will be played in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and will be broadcast on ESPN.
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