AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns (9-4) will return to the Sugar Bowl for the first time in 23 years. Texas will take on Georgia (11-2) in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on January 1st in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 7:45 PM.
Texas earned the Big 12’s spot in the Sugar Bowl because Oklahoma is headed back to the College Football Playoff. Texas is ranked 15th in the latest CFP rankings, the second highest in the Big 12, one spot ahead of West Virginia.
“What a tremendous reward it is for our players to compete in a prestigious New Year’s Day bowl game like the Sugar Bowl,” head coach Tom Herman said. “I’m extremely proud of what the team has accomplished this season and earning a spot in a big-time game like this, against a tremendous opponent like Georgia, is a huge step for our program. We couldn’t be happier with this opportunity and are excited to get back to work and prepare to try to go 1-0 in the Sugar Bowl.”
Texas will play in their fourth Sugar Bowl game and first since 1995 when they lost to Virginia Tech 28-10.
UT’s 55 Bowl appearances is tied for 2nd most in all of College Football behind Alabama. After four straight bowl games in Texas, two Alamo Bowls and two Texas Bowls including last year’s 33-16 win over Missouri, the Longhorns will get to leave the state during the holiday break.
Texas last played outside of the state in the 2011 Holiday Bowl when they beat Cal 21-10 in San Diego.
Texas and Georgia will meet for the fifth time and the first since January 2nd, 1984 when the seventh-ranked Bulldogs beat the second-ranked Longhorns 10-9 in the Cotton Bowl. Texas won the other three matchups played in 1949, 1957, and 1958.
Texas is coming off a 39-27 loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game. Despite holding the Sooners 21 points below their season average, Texas gave up 21 unanswered points after leading 14-6 in the first half. After tying the game 27-27, Oklahoma outscored Texas 12-0 in the 4th quarter.
Georgia is coming off a stinging 35-28 loss to #1 Alabama in the SEC Championship game that ended their national championship hopes.
The Bulldogs led the Crimson Tide 28-14 early in the third quarter. Alabama scored 21 straight points taking the lead on a 15-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Jalen Hurts with 1:03 to go. The Bulldog’s only other loss was 36-16 at LSU on October 13th.
On offense, Georgia is led by a running game averaging 251 yards per game. D’Andre Smith leads the attack with 1,037 yards and averages 6.7 yards per carry. Georgia sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm has thrown for 2,537 yards with 27 touchdowns and five interceptions. On defense, Georgia is allowing 18.5 points per game, ranked in the top 20 in the nation.
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger heads into the bowl game after passing for 349 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, Ehlinger has thrown for 3,123 yards, that’s 6th most all-time for UT quarterbacks.
Junior receiver Collin Johnson set a Big 12 Championship game record with 177 yards on eight catches and one touchdown. Receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey leads Texas with 79 catches for 1,109 yards which is fifth most receiving yards in school history.
#4 Oklahoma will take on #1 Alabama in the Orange Bowl and #2 Clemson will meet #3 Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl in the semifinals. Both games will be played on December 29th.