2019 Alamo Bowl Preview

2019 Alamo Bowl preview

After both teams missed out on opportunities for a conference title, the Texas Longhorns and the #11 Utah Utes will face each other on New Years Eve in the Valero Alamo Bowl. The Utes finished their regular season 11-2 overall, 8-1 in the PAC-12 conference. Their losses were to unranked USC in September and to Oregon in the conference title game. The two schools have only met once before, with Texas winning 21-12 in 1982. Here is your 2019 Alamo Bowl preview.

The State of Texas

The Longhorns finished out their regular season at 7-5 overall. After a 10-win record in 2018, they did not move on to play for the Big 12 championship this year. Texas hopes to cap off a rocky season in Head Coach Tom Herman‘s third year with a bowl game victory. An 8-5 finish would start the off-season with a more positive momentum.

Quarterback Comparison

Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley has 2,966 passing yards for the year with 18 touchdowns and four interceptions. His completion percentage is 74%. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger has 3,462 passing yards for 29 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a 65% completion percentage. These numbers, however, are like comparing apples and oranges. The Big XII is traditionally a very pass-oriented conference compared to a more rushing PAC-12.

Utah Offense

Utah running back Zack Moss has rushed for 1,359 yards and 15 touchdowns. He averages 113 yards per game and leads the country in yards after contact. Three-and-outs are rare with Utah, and a lot of that is attributed to Moss. In comparison, the Longhorns’ Keaontay Ingram has 745 yards and six touchdowns. Ingram averages 62 yards per game.

Utah wide receiver Brant Kuithe has 31 receptions for 523 yards and six touchdowns. In stark contrast, the Longhorns’ Devin Duvernay has 103 receptions for 1,294 yards (fourth in the nation) and eight touchdowns. The Texas defense will need to bring a solid defensive line against a team that passes and rushes almost equally.

Utah Defense

The Utes defense ranks third overall in the FBS. Their strong defensive line has repeatedly been effective at shutting down run games. They also play press man coverage to disrupt the timing of their opponents’ passing game. The Utes’ top defensive player safety Julian Blackmon, who was responsible for four interceptions this season, will not play in the Alamo Bowl due to a leg injury.

Transfers And Recruits

While the two teams have faced little head-to-head competition, they have had some competition recently for various players. Cam Rising, the former Texas backup quarterback who transferred to Utah in the off-season this year, has recently been ruled eligible by the NCAA. He is not expected to play in the bowl game. During early signing day in mid-December, Utah was able to flip likely Texas recruits Ty Jordan and four-star Van Fillinger . However, the Longhorns had some payback with a last-minute flip by Jaylan Ford from the Utes.

Injury Update

Previously injured Collin Johnson, Anthony Cook, and Cade Brewer are expected start at the Alamo Bowl. Jordan Whittington is out following a recent surgery. Keaontay Ingram is questionable following an ankle injury.

Preview and Predictions

Texas has just hired new offensive coordinator Mike Yurich from Ohio State, following the Buckeyes’ playoff loss. New defensive coordinator Chris Ash will not take over until after the bowl game. The success of the game will rest squarely on Tom Herman’s shoulders, who has been play-calling since the middle of the 2018 season. A 7-6 finish could leave Herman coaching for his own job next season. I predict the Longhorns will face a tough battle to pull off a victory against an impressive #11 Utah team.

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