It's UT's fourth appearance in the Holiday Bowl and their first since 2003. The Longhorns are 1-2 in their three previous trips having defeated Washington, 47-43, in 2001, while falling to Oregon, 35-30, in 2000 and Washington State, 28-20, in 2003. The game will be a first for both teams, as the Horns and Sun Devils have never faced each other on the football field.
In a release from Texas, head coach Mack Brown said:
"We're looking forward to getting out to San Diego and preparing for another great Holiday Bowl. All of the red coats and the city and people of San Diego do such a great job of welcoming the teams that it will again be a great experience for our guys. As a team, our focus will be on getting that 10th win and keeping our bowl winning streak alive. We've got a lot of work to do and the Holiday Bowl always seems to be a wild game with lots of sudden changes so we're looking forward to getting back on the practice field and preparing to play."
Texas has already posted nine victories for a 10th consecutive season and if the Longhorns win their bowl game in San Diego, they will have achieved at least ten victories in seven consecutive seasons. With its invitation, Texas is playing in a bowl game for a UT-record 10th straight season, bettering the previous mark of nine straight bowl games from 1977-85. The Horns have won five of their last six bowl games and have a 6-3 record in bowl contests under Brown.
This season, the Texas offense is averaging 462.0 yards of total offense (13th NCAA), 199.8 rushing yards (25th NCAA), 262.2 passing yards (36th NCAA) and 36.0 points per game (19th NCAA). UT has produced at least 400 yards of total offense in eight games and at least 500 yards in five, while scoring at least 30 points in eight of the 12 games.
But on the defensive side of the ball, the numbers paint a scary picture. The Longhorns are 54th in the nation in total defense (374.83 ypg) and most notably 109th out of 119 FBS teams in pass defense, giving up 275.50 ypg through the air. Arizona State is ranked 38th in the nation in passing offense, just two spots behind Texas, with 259.1 ypg passing.
First year head coach Dennis Erickson led Arizona State to a 10-2 record and a share of the Pac-10 title. The 10 wins is the most since ASU won 11 in 1996, the last time the team achieved a Pac-10 championship.
The game will be at Qualcomm Stadium, the home of the San Diego Chargers, and the television broadcast will start at 5 p.m. Central on ESPN.