Utah and BYU to face off in Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The University of Utah Utes will play the Brigham Young University Cougars in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl December 19, and the match-up marks the first time in history the two rivals will meet in a bowl game.

The "Holy War" in Las Vegas also means BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall's final game with the Cougars will be against his in-state rival.

According to a press release from the Athletics Department at the University of Utah, the Utes accepted the invitation to play in the bowl game, which is scheduled for Saturday, December 19 at 1:30 p.m. MT in Las Vegas. According to the box office for the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, the tickets available through their systems are sold out. Each school will also be selling a certain number of tickets through their websites, click here for BYU and here for Utah.

Bronco Mendenhall announced earlier this week he was taking the top coaching job at University of Virginia and that the Las Vegas Bowl would be his last game at the helm of BYU. With 99 wins with the Cougars in his 11 seasons, Mendenhall could cap off his time in Provo with a final win over Utah and a 100th win overall should they upset the No. 20-ranked Utes.

“We are looking forward to this unique opportunity of playing against a rival like Utah in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall stated in a press release. “This will be the first time this rivalry game has taken place in a bowl setting so it has some historic significance as well being a great matchup between two teams that have had outstanding seasons. This will be our 11th straight bowl game and I’m definitely looking forward to coaching this team one last time as we take the field in Las Vegas striving to achieve our 10th win of the season.”

Utah, 9-3 overall, were co-champions of the Pac-12 South Division with a 6-3 conference record, according to the press release. BYU, an independent, is 9-3.

“After being nationally ranked since the second week of the season and finishing as co-champion of the Pac-12 South Division, we are looking forward to our ninth bowl game in the last 11 seasons," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham stated in the press release. "Las Vegas is a great destination for our fans and the bowl organizers work hard to make it a memorable experience for the players."

According to the press release from BYU, the game renews a rivalry that was not scheduled for the past two regular seasons, and this game will be the 90th meeting of the two teams. The series began in 1922. Overall, the Utes lead that series 54-31-4, and Utah won the last game between the two teams 20-13 in Provo in 2013.

The two teams are scheduled to resume their regular rivalry next season in Salt Lake City.

“We are excited to be returning to Las Vegas to play in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl,” BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe stated in the press release. “BYU–Utah is one of the great rivalries in college football. Playing each other for the first time in a bowl game should add a unique chapter to our storied history.”

Utah Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill stated: "This has been our best season as members of the Pac-12 and we are pleased at the opportunity to play one more game. Through our past experience, we know that the people involved with the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl will provide a wonderful experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans.”

9 comments

  • bob of all bobs

    How does a 4th place overall PAC 12 team end up playing in the Pac-12 6th place Las Vegas p** bowl. Either the pac-12 hates us, or Brigham Young University got out their checkbooks and wrote out some check for these higher bowl games to over look a deserving Utah team, so we end up dropping down the list to the hands of Las Vegas.
    Thank you for giving BYU fans what they wanted. We might have just as well stay in the Mountain West Conference or be independent if Las Vegas ends up being a final destination every year no matter how will we do.
    This is a complete joke and I won’t be watching. What a disappointment this season has turned out.

    • Jason

      For a vocal minority of Ute fans, a trip to the lowly Vegas bowl with BYU threatens their “safe space”. This unwelcome reality kills their fantasy that Utah has “moved on”, that the PAC 12 values them as much as the other 11, and that Colorado is their new “rival”. But worst of all, they fear the Las Vegas Bowl might end the best 4-year gloating stretch in recent Utah history with a loss to BYU.

      You can’t blame them for not wanting to play BYU again. Streak winners would always prefer to freeze time, codifying their glory for eternity.

      But safe spaces never last. Reality always wins. And the reality here is that both Utah and BYU are just slightly-better-than average football teams bound together by tradition. One has a great legacy fading deeper into the past, the other is just beginning to flash a spark of potential. But new legacies cannot be born by fleeing reality – a lesson some Ute fans intend to learn kicking and screaming.

      • Colin

        Ute fan here. I for one am thrilled we get to head to Vegas and kick in the zoobs teeth. This will be a bloodbath. Utes beat Michigan. Michigan throttled byu 31-0. Stupid zoobies. UTES 49 zoobs 3

    • Don Nelson

      BYU will beat this lesser team known as the University of Utah Uets. How does a team that that got crushed by USC, Arizona and Cal have the temerity to even show up in Vegas to play one of the premier teams in college football. I understand because of their disappointing losses Utah continues to mount up the school is considering canceling football from its University sports program. It is rather embarrassing to have a team use the Ute tribe as their mascot so insulting to the American Indian culture. Perhaps Utah should take their lead from University of Missouri and stop racism now. BYU which is the darling of ESPN continues to garner high ratings, who has heard of the University of Utah?

  • Screw this bowl

    Not watching or support getting passed over for lower bowls 2 years in a row. It is starting to set a precedent and the only way to stop it is if people stand up for utah. Turn off my cancelled
    The pac12 network as soon as the bowls were announced. Ill vote with my dollars.

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