The bowl schedule is set with two interesting matchups taking place in Dallas-Fort Worth. What better time than now to break down the Armed Forces Bowl and Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Army (8-3) vs. San Diego State (10-2)
This will be a battle between two of the nation’s top ground attacks. Army is known for running the ball and running it well. The Black Knights lead the nation in rushing at 368.1 yards per game and have scored 43 touchdowns on the ground. The offense is led by quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw, who’s rushed for 1,472 yards this season.
Army is making back-to-back bowl appearances under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Jeff Monken. It’s also the second straight bowl trip to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the Black Knights. They beat North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl last year. If Army, who shut out Air Force last month, beats Navy on Saturday, the Commander in Chief’s Trophy will belong to the Black Knights for the first time since 1996.
San Diego State ended the regular season on a four-game winning streak. The Aztecs finished 6-2 in the Mountain West Conference and beat No. 13 Stanford earlier this season.
Walter Camp Award finalist Rashaad Penny leads the nation in rushing yards (2,027) and all-purpose yards (2,698).
San Diego State will be playing in their 12th major bowl game and eighth straight. Head coach Rocky Long is in his seventh season at the helm of the program and has amassed the most wins (64-28) of any Mountain West head coach since the league’s inception in 1999.
Kick-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 23 at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
Utah (6-6) vs West Virginia (7-5)
West Virginia will be arriving in Dallas in a little bit of a funk. The Mountaineers lost the final two games of the season after starting quarterback Will Grier was out with a broken finger/hand. It’s still up in the air on whether Grier will be able to play in the bowl game. The Mountaineers were sitting at 7-3 and ranked in the Top 25 before the injury.
West Virginia will be playing in its fourth-straight bowl game under head coach Dana Holgorsen after finishing 7-5 (5-4 in Big 12). Their last trip to Dallas-Fort Worth was in early October, which resulted in a 31-24 loss to TCU.
Utah is also playing in its fourth straight bowl game and 12th overall under head coach Kyle Whittingham. The Utes own a remarkable 10-1 record in bowl games since Whittingham took over as head coach in 2005. Utah is one of nine Pac-12 teams to qualify for bowl games in 2017.
These two teams have actually met once before in the 1964 Liberty Bowl, a 32-6 win by Utah.
The game will be played on Dec. 26 at the historic Cotton Bowl in Dallas with kick-off scheduled for 12:30 p.m.