WVU Gets Utah In Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
West Virginia’s football team will be in familiar territory when it heads to Dallas in late December for the Zaxby’s HEart of Dallas Bowl. The Mountaineers flew into the Dallas Fort Worth Airport for both the TCU and Baylor games this year, and stayed in the Metroplex for both contests.
The Mountaineers dropped to the sixth lower-tier bowl in the Big 12 pecking order. TCU landed the Alamo bid, with Oklahoma State snaring the Camping World nod and Texas getting the ESPN-backed selection to the Texas despite a 6-6 record. Iowa State took the Liberty Bowl, while Kansas State heads to the Cactus. Only Texas Tech, in the Birmingham Bowl, was lower in the selection process.
The Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl is played in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Tex., and will kick at 1:30 p.m. Eastern on Dec. 26. Several ticket packages are available.
This will be West Virginia’s first appearance in the bowl, which has been in existence since 2011. Texas Tech (2011) and Oklahoma State (2013) are the other two Big 12 schools to have played in the game.
The West Virginia Mountaineers and Utah Utes have officially accepted invitations to play in the 2017 Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, Brant B. Ringler, the bowl’s executive director, announced Sunday. The eighth edition of the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl will be played Tuesday, Dec. 26 at Cotton Bowl Stadium. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. CT and the contest will be televised by ESPN.
“We’re extremely excited to announce West Virginia and Utah as the two programs playing in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl this year,” Ringler said. “Congratulations to both the Mountaineers and Utes for their outstanding seasons. This promises to be an great matchup at historic Cotton Bowl Stadium. Fans from both programs are in for a special time in Dallas.”
West Virginia (7-5, 5-4 Big 12) is headed to a bowl game for the 36th time in its proud history. The Mountaineers are playing in their first Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. This will be the fifth time West Virginia plays a bowl game in Texas, and the first in 30 years. The Mountaineers’ five previous bowl visits to the Lone Star State were the Sun Bowl three times (1937, 1948 and 1987) and the Bluebonnet Bowl (1984).
Dana Holgorsen is in his seventh season as the head coach at West Virginia, leading the Mountaineers to six bowl games, including the last four years. Holgorsen is 53-36 overall at West Virginia and 2-3 in bowl games.
Utah (6-6, 3-6 Pac-12) is playing in a bowl for the fourth consecutive season and 21st time overall. The Utes are playing in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl for the first time, but it’s the fourth bowl game for the program in Texas. Utah played in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in 2006 and the Sun Bowl twice (1939 and 2011).
The Utes have played in 11 bowl games under Kyle Whittingham and he has the best bowl win percentage in NCAA history at 91-percent (10-1). The Utes are 110-56 in 13 seasons under Whittingham.
Last year, the Army West Point Black Knights won an exciting 38-31 overtime contest against North Texas.
The 2017 Heart of Dallas Bowl is part of the 88th year of games being played at Cotton Bowl Stadium on the grounds of Fair Park, which features 227 acres of museums, attractions, history, art and performances located in the “heart” of the ninth largest city in the United States.
This year’s Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl will again be televised nationally on ESPN, and will be aired in both English and Spanish on the Heart of Dallas Bowl Radio Network.
Tickets range from $25 for a general admission seat, to $75 for a reserved lower bowl seat and $125 for a mid-field chair back seat. Tickets can be purchased through the bowl’s web site at http://theheartofdallasbowl.com/general-tix. With the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl announcing on Sept. 11, 2014 a new mission to honor first responders through football complimentary tickets are available to first responders and their families via signup at the bowls website: www.HeartOfDallasBowl.com. These tickets are made possible by generous underwriting from North Texas businesses and bowl corporate partners.
Owned and operated by ESPN Events, the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl has been supported by a myriad of Dallas-based corporations and organizations including the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, City of Dallas, Omni Hotel Dallas and Hyatt Regency Dallas. The bowl game serves as one of several Heart of Dallas Foundation events aimed at inspiring Dallas millennials to be the next generation of influencers and philanthropists. Demonstrating this commitment to philanthropy, past Heart of Dallas Bowl profits have gone to benefit charities serving the homeless population in Dallas. This year’s game will honor first responders and their families.
The Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl is the first bowl game in the country to honor First Responders. Representatives to be honored during the game include firefighters, police and EMS personnel. Tributes take place at the beginning of each quarter and presentations are made throughout the event. The pre-game fan fest also brings together first responder groups from all over North Texas, with a tailgate outside Cotton Bowl Stadium, showcasing hardware from participating units and community organizations.