The University of Utah will play in the Holiday Bowl on December 31st in San Diego against the Big 10 runners up Northwestern Wildcats. The announcement came on early Sunday afternoon, two days after Utah lost out on its chance to play in the Rose Bowl. It will be Utah’s first ever appearance in the Holiday Bowl and third all time meeting with Northwestern, each team winning a game. The Wildcats getting the better of the Utes 13-6 in 1928 and Utah winning 42-0 in 1981.
Northwestern won the Big 10 West with an 8-1 Conference record and lost in the Big 10 Title Game on Saturday night to Ohio State 45-24. Northwestern will enter the match up with Utah at 8-05 overall on the season. Their only regular season Big 10 loss was to Michigan early in the year. Their Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald is a Northwestern Grad and former All Big 10 Linebacker for the Wildcats. Fitzgerald in his 13th season at his alma mater, as Head Coach, is 95-70 overall and 3-5 in Bowl Games.
Under 14th year head coach Kyle Whittingham, Utah is 4-0 against the Big Ten (3-0 vs. Michigan and 1-0 vs. Indiana). Whittingham played in the first four Holiday Bowls (1978-81) as a linebacker for BYU and was the Defensive MVP of the 1981 game. In 2008, he was inducted into the Holiday Bowl Hall of Fame. Whittingham is 11-1 in bowl games as a Head Coach and 5-0 in the Pac 12 Era.
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