Heart of Dallas Bowl preview: Utah vs. West Virginia

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

On Tuesday afternoon, the Utah Utes face the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. The game will kick off at 1:30 pm on ESPN from the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Texas.

The Utes have a 6-6 record coming into this game. The Mountaineers are 7-5 this season.

West Virginia running back Justin Crawford after scoring a touchdown (Getty Images)

West Virginia running back Justin Crawford after scoring a touchdown (Getty Images)

The Mountaineers previously played in the Dallas, Texas area this season. They lost 31-24 to the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas on October 7th.

According to Covers.com Consensus Analysis, the Mountaineers have a 65% chance to win this game, according to their public poll. Their expert poll; however, says the Mountaineers have a 73% chance to win this game.

This will be the second meeting between these two teams all-time in Bowl action. The Utes defeated the Mountaineers, 32-6, in the Liberty Bowl in Atlantic City, New Jersey at the Atlantic City Convention Hall on December 19th, 1964.

The Utes have a 16-4 all-time Bowl record. They have won their last four Bowl games.

They have not lost a Bowl game since December 22nd, 2010 when they lost 26-3 to the Boise State Broncos in the Las Vegas Bowl. Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham is 10-1 as their head coach in Bowl games.

This will be their first appearance in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. However, it is the second-time they’re playing in a Dallas, Texas area Bowl game, as they played in the Armed Forces Bowl on December 23rd, 2006 when they won 25-13 over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.

The Mountaineers are 15-20 all-time in Bowl games. They lost their last Bowl game, losing 31-14 to the Miami (Florida) Hurricanes in the Russell Athletic Bowl on December 28th, 2016.

West Virginia is 1–3 all-time in Bowl games under head coach Dana Holgorsen. The game — which was their last Bowl win — came on January 2nd, 2016 when they defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils, 43-42, in the Cactus Bowl.

This will be the first-time the Mountaineers are playing in a Dallas, Texas area Bowl game. It is also the first-time they are playing in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl.

The Utes won their last regular-season game, as they defeated the Colorado Buffaloes, 34-13, to become Bowl eligible. They have not lost a Bowl game since being defeated by the Washington Huskies, 33-30, on November 18th, 2017.

The Mountaineers lost their last two regular-season games, losing to the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns. They have not won a regular season game since defeating the Kansas State Wildcats, 28-23, on November 11th, 20017.

Utah is averaging 29.5 points per game. West Virginia is averaging 36.3 points per game.

Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley has gone 187 of 286 for 2,246 passing yards. He has 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Zack Moss leads the running backs with 194 carries for 1,023 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Darren Carrington II leads the receivers with 66 receptions for 918 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Mountaineers quarterback Will Grier — who may miss the game today after suffering a broken finger in late November against the Longhorns — has gone 250 of 388 for 3,490 passing yards. He has 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Justin Crawford leads the running backs with 190 carries for 1,061 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Gary Jennings leads the receivers with 94 receptions for 1,030 receiving yards and a touchdown.

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