No. 17 Utah (9-4, 6-3 Pac-12) will play No. 22 Northwestern (8-5, 8-1 Big Ten) in the 41st-annual San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl in SDCCU Stadium on Monday, Dec. 31. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. PT (5 p.m. MT) on FS1. Search #NWvsUTAH for conversation and follow @utahathletics for live updates.
> Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham
owns the best bowl win percentage in NCAA history (92%, 11-1) and his 11 bowl wins is tied for second among active coaches.
> Utah is 17-4 all-time in bowl games (see sidebar on this page for a complete list).
> Utah is 5-0 in bowl games in the Pac-12 era with wins over Georgia Tech, Colorado State, BYU, Indiana and West Virginia.
is a 2-0 in College Football Playoff bowls, beating Pittsburgh in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl (as the co-head coach with Urban Meyer) and Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.
> Utah won all nine of its bowl games from 1999-2009 to tie for the second-longest bowl win streak in NCAA history.
> Pac-12 South Division champion Utah and Big Ten West Division champion Northwestern are both making their first appearance in the Holiday Bowl.
> Utah is designated as the home team.
> Including bowls, Utah is 27-1 against non-conference opponents since joining the Pac-12 in 2011 (3-0 this season).
> In his 14th season as Utah's head coach, Kyle Whittingham
is the longest-tenured active coach in the Pac-12 Conference and the third-longest tenured active coach at the same school in the NCAA FBS.
is 4-0 against the Big Ten (3-0 vs. Michigan and 1-0 vs. Indiana). Utah's win over Indiana was in the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl in San Francisco.
> Utah and Northwestern are 1-1 in their series history with the Wildcats winning in 1927 (13-6) and Utah winning in 1981 (42-0). Both games were played in Evanston, Ill.
> Utah is No. 17 in the final College Football Playoff (CFP) ranking. The Utes are No. 19 in the Coaches and No. 20 in the AP polls. Utah's highest ranking this season was No. 15 CFP and No. 16 AP and Coaches.
> Utah appeared in every CFP ranking from 2014-16 and five times this season.
> Utah is No. 2 in the nation (No. 1 Pac-12) in red zone defense (63.9, 23-of-36)
> Utah is No. 3 in the nation (No. 1 Pac-12) in field goals made (24)
> Utah is No. 5 in the nation (No. 1 Pac-12) in rushing defense (101.8)
> Utah is No. 9 in the nation (No. 1 Pac-12) in tackles for loss per game (7.9)
> Utah is No. 1 in the Pac-12 (No. 10 nationally) in red zone offense (0.911, 41-of-45)
> Utah is No. 1 in the Pac-12 in opponent third down conversion percentage (34.2)
> Utah is No. 2 in the Pac-12 (No. 15 nationally) in net punting (40.65)
> Utah is No. 2 in the Pac-12 (No. 15 nationally) in total defense (315.1)
> Utah is No. 2 in the Pac-12 (No. 16 nationally) in scoring defense (18.5)
> Utah is No. 2 in the Pac-12 in fewest penalties per game (5.15)
> Utah is No. 3 in the Pac-12 in first down defense (221)
> Utah is No. 3 in the Pac-12 in rushing offense (186.8)
> Utah is No. 3 in the Pac-12 in sacks per game (2.69)
> Utah is No. 3 in the Pac-12 in pass efficiency defense (115.88)
> Utah is No. 3 in the Pac-12 in interceptions (14)
> Utah is No. 3 in the Pac-12 in defensive touchdowns (3)
> Utah is No. 3 in the Pac-12 in punt return defense (5.46).
> Utah is No. 3 in the Pac-12 in fewest penalty yards per game (47.77).
> Utah is No. 3T in turnovers gained (20; 14 INT, 6 FR).
See sidebar on page 3 for more Utah rankings
The Utes will head to San Diego on Dec. 26 and will hold closed practices on Dec. 26-29 … Utah head coach Kyle 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 2009, he was inducted into the Holiday Bowl Hall of Fame … Utah is the only school in NCAA history with a Ray Guy Award winner (Mitch Wishnowsky
in 2016) and Lou Groza Award winner (Matt Gay
in 2017) on the same squad. Wishnowsky is the only three-time Ray Guy finalist in the history of the award. Wishnowsky and Gay were both consensus All-Americans in their first season of NCAA football (Wishnowsky in 2016 and Gay in 2017) and Wishnowsky is the only three-time All-American at any position in Utah football history … Utah has 29 native Californians on its bowl squad … Against AP-ranked opponents, Utah is 7-16 in the Pac-12 era and 1-2 this season (lost to No. 10 Washington twice, beat No. 14 Stanford) … The Utes have sold out 57 straight games in Rice-Eccles Stadium since the 2010 season opener.
Utah boasts three 2018 All-Americans—senior punter Mitch Wishnowsky
(Walter Camp, Associated Press, AFCA), senior linebacker Chase Hansen
(FWAA, Sporting News
, The Athletic) and senior kicker Matt Gay
(AP, FWAA, Pro Football Focus). Eight of the nine honors were second team (Gay was third team AP). The All-America trio headlined a school-record nine Utes on the 2018 All-Pac-12 Conference first team. The nine first-team picks led all Pac-12 teams. Including two honorable mention picks, 10 of Utah's defensive starters earned all-conference honors. The Utes also captured three of the four first-team specialist awards. See page 2 for a complete list of Utah's honors in 2018.
In the Huddle
Starting junior quarterback Tyler Huntley
, who missed the last four games with a broken collarbone, has returned to practice and is listed as the co-starter for the bowl game with redshirt freshman Jason Shelley
… Unavailable due to season-ending injuries are leading rusher Zack Moss
and leading receiver Britain Covey
. See Moss Lost
and Covey's Numbers
following the position updates for more … 10 true freshmen have played: Jackson Cravens
, Solomon Enis
, Cole Fotheringham
, Brant Kuithe
, Devin Brumfield
, Braeden E. Daniels
, Maddie Golden
, R.J. Hubert
, Malone Mataele
and Terrell Perriman
… Eight true or redshirt freshmen have started: Brumfield
, Bronson Boyd
, Jaylen Dixon
and Nick Ford
… Utah has 41 players of Polynesian descent on its roster.