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Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Utah Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Georgia vs Texas

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Valero Alamo Bowl in our Texas vs. Utah preview and prediction. 

Game Info

6:30 p.m. Central Time, Tuesday December 31st, 2019, Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas. 

TV: ESPN

Texas Radio: Longhorn Radio Network 

Spread: Utah (-7)

Fun Fact: These two programs have only met once. All the way back in 1982 when Texas defeated Utah 21-12 in Austin. 

 

Key Players

Texas

QB Sam Ehlinger

Sam had a good season. Outside of two or three games, Sam has put together a nice year as he has thrown for 29 touchdowns on 9 picks as well as completing 65.1% of his passes. While he hasn’t scored nearly as many rushing touchdowns this season (Just 6 compared to 16 in 2018), he still has been very effective on the ground as he has racked up nearly 600 rushing yards on the year. However, this may be one of his toughest tests yet against a solid Utes defense. 

DE Malcolm Roach 

This will be Malcolm’s last game in a Texas uniform and as the leader of the defensive line, it will be up to him to get the guys ready up front. Roach has had a little bit of an up and down season but the last time we saw him against Texas Tech, he was making plays everywhere. The question is, can he put together that type of performance once again in his last collegiate game?

Utah

RB Zach Moss

He is the clear-cut number one running option for this Utes offense. Utah loves to run the football and it is easy to see why when you have a guy like Zach Moss toting the rock for your team. Moss has over 1,300 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns this season and I am sure he will get plenty of touches in this game. Not to mention, he was the 2019 Pac-12 offensive player of the year. 

DE Bradlee Anae

There is no question who the best pass rusher is in this game regardless of team. Bradlee Anae has put together a fantastic season as he has racked up 12.5 sacks on the season and was named a first team All-Pac 12 defensive lineman. With some issues in pass protection for Texas up front, Bradlee could be due for a monster game against a struggling Texas offensive line. 

 

Game Plan

The Texas offense is going to have their hands full against a good Utah defense that ranks in the top fifteen in both rush and pass defense. Now, if you watch the Pac 12 title game, then you saw Oregon make some explosive plays on offense and really use their speed and physicality to their advantage. That’s exactly what Texas needs to bring on offense in this one. I expect a heavy use of stud wide out Devin Duvernay whether it’s a screen pass, deep route or a jet sweep. Texas must get him the football as much as possible. Outside of that, Texas must stay balanced and it may not hurt to mix in a trick play or two to catch the Utes off guard. 

As for the defense, I think the game plan will be interesting considering Todd Orlando is now gone. The Longhorns need to slow down the Utah running game with Zach Moss and force quarterback Tyler Huntley to beat you from inside the pocket with his arm. If Texas can do that, I don’t think the Utes will be very explosive on offense. 

Prediction 

Texas 24, Utah 21

I know this may come to a shocker for some but don’t forget the fact that this is essentially a home game for Texas as San Antonio is just right down the road and there are plenty of Longhorn fans here. I think Texas will take notes from what Oregon did and mix in some sneaky trick plays to put them over the top. I expect Texas to slow down then Utah running game and in a low scoring game, Texas edges the Utes. 

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