Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl: Utes and Mountaineers Face Off
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl: Utes and Mountaineers Face Off in the historic Cotton Bowl will play host to Utah and West Virginia for Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. It will be a fun game to watch as fans recover from their Christmas festivities. Both teams are a little worse for the wear with numerous injuries. Here is what you need to know.
Teams: Utah (6-6, Pac-12) vs West Virginia (7-5, Big 12)
Date: Tuesday, December 26
Game Time: 1:30 pm EST/ 12:30 pm CST
Venue: The Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
Follow along on Twitter: @HODBowl @WVUfootball @Utah_Football
West Virginia Mountaineers
Coach Dana Holgorsen and the fast-paced Mountaineers averaged 485.2 yards a game during the regular season. Unfortunately, West Virginia will be without QB Will Grier as he recovers from a finger injury. Never fear their backup QB Chris Chugunov will have two key offensive components RB Justin Crawford and WR David Sills. Crawford had 191 carries 1,060 yards as well as 7 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Sills had 60 receptions, 980 yards, and 18 touchdowns. Holgorsen talked about Chugunoz at the presser on Christmas Eve “We have all of about eight practices, in all honesty, it has been good for us. Our quarterback has been here for three years, so he knows the offense. The biggest thing is understanding he is the starting quarterback and he has used the practices to develop timing with his wide receivers…We are at a better place than we were a few weeks ago.” The biggest obstacle will be the Mountaineer defense which struggled to stop the run this season, which could bode well for the Utes.
Utah started the 2017 regular season strong, they even made it into polls by October. Then they hit the skids and lost several close games. Despite the struggles to win games late in the season, the Utes ground game was strong. was lead by their 1,000+ yard RB Zack Moss. Although, Utah is just as banged up as West Virginia. There has been speculation if their quarterback Tyler Huntley will be ready for the game. Here is what Coach Kyle Whittingham had to say “He is 100 percent, but we have to get him a little bit bigger in the offseason. We think he is a tremendous player, he was second in the Pac 12 in offense as a true sophomore, his future is bright, but he has to put some meat on that body.” The Utes have won 10 of their 11 bowl games under Whittingham.
A Bowl Game For A Cause
In 2014 the bowl game dedicated itself to honoring the First Responders who have sacrificed their lives while protecting their communities. One of their main events was held in November and was a partnership with The Guns and Hoses Foundation of North Texas. Together they hosted the second annual stair climb (over 3,100 steps) in the Cotton Bowl Stadium. This Climb for Community honors the first responders and raises money to help support the loved ones left behind.
Too Many Bowl Games
People complain that there are too many meaningless bowl games. There are no meaningless bowl games. Every team that gets a bowl bid gets an extended season. The coaches get more practices with their team. The fans get another chance to cheer. Some of the bowl games may not be as prestigious as others but there are no meaningless bowl games. Last year North Texas and Army put on a great show at the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. Here is hoping that Utah and West Virginia give us a good game. For what it is worth this game was ranked the 27th best bowl game by our own Jason Rhea.