Texas faces No. 11 Utah in Alamo Bowl with eye on another bowl game surprise

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns have their assistants in place for the future, but the players will be looking for results Tuesday night against the No. 11 Utes.

Texas and Utah meet in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The Longhorns are aiming for their third straight bowl victory since Tom Herman arrived as head coach.

The Longhorns will be without two reserve linebackers after the school announced Monday that freshmen David Gbenda and Byron Vaughns have been sent home for a violation of team rules.

Texas is a bowl game underdog again with oddsmakers expecting Utah to win by a touchdown. The Longhorns will certainly be motivated to prove that the 2019 season wasn’t a total waste. It will be interesting to see how motivated Utah will be after missing out on a spot in the College Football Playoff following the loss in the Pac 12 Championship to Oregon.

The program will have new offensive and defensive coordinator starting after the Alamo Bowl. Herman made the hiring of Mike Yurcich as the Longhorns new offensive coordinator official on Sunday.

Herman spoke about the hire during a joint press conference Monday.

“We couldn’t be happier with Mike [Yurcich],” Herman said.

“I couldn’t have dreamed for a better fit in terms of similarities in the way that we believe in offensive football, and yet a lengthy track record and resume of success on that side of the ball,” he added.

Herman is expected to continue playcalling duties for the bowl game before passing responsibilities over to Yurcich.

“We knew that we had to get this right, but it’s got to be not just right for the masses but right for Texas…and right for what we believe in and who we want to be on that side of the ball,” Herman said about the offensive coordinator search.

Safeties coach Craig Naivar will the be the interim defensive coordinator for the Alamo Bowl against Utah. Texas has hired former Rutgers head coach Chris Ash as its next defensive coordinator.

The Texas defense was one of the worst units in the country. They will be tasked with stopping Zack Moss, one of the nation’s best running backs. The Longhorns were awful in the secondary, but the players believe they’ll play with something to prove against the talented, efficient Utes.

Senior safety Brandon Jones says the team has handled the shift in leadership well and, really, the message hasn’t changed.

“Winning a football game on New Year’s Eve is what matters,” Naivar said.

The Longhorns pulled off an epic upset last year against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. A win against Utah wouldn’t ease the sting of a 7-5 season, but it might give the program hope for the future.

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