No. 12 Washington and No. 20 Texas look to move closer to a return to national prominence when they square off Thursday in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.
The contest pits two of the nation’s best offenses, although the Longhorns will be depleted on that side of the ball. Two of their top running backs — consensus All-American and Doak Walker Award winner Bijan Robinson and key backup Roschon Johnson — have both opted out.
Texas (8-4) won three of its last four games, including a 38-27 home win over Baylor in its regular-season finale on Nov. 25. The only loss in that stretch was 17-10 against College Football Playoff participant TCU on Nov. 12.
After missing the postseason in 2021 in coach Steve Sarkisian’s first year with the Longhorns, Texas had a bounce-back season. The Longhorns’ four losses this year were by a combined 18 points.
“We didn’t get to go to a bowl game last year, we didn’t earn it,” Sarkisian said. “It’s great that the team gets this experience against a really good opponent. You’re always looking for ways to continue to develop your players. It’s a win-win for us.”
Texas still has plenty of firepower, with freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers triggering the attack and All-Big 12 honorees Xavier Worthy and Ja’Tavion Sanders his primary targets.
The 2022 Alamo Bowl marks the 58th all-time bowl appearance for the Longhorns, the third-most in the country behind only Alabama and Georgia. Texas owns a bowl record of 31-24-2.
The Huskies (10-2) are riding a six-game winning streak, including a 51-33 Apple Cup victory at Washington State on Nov. 26 to close out the regular season. Washington is making its first bowl appearance since the 2019 Las Vegas Bowl.
Head coach Kalen DeBoer led the Huskies back to the postseason and an improvement of six wins in his first year in Seattle. Washington’s 10 wins were the most ever at the school under a first-year head coach.
“We’re at the point now with this year’s team where we feel that we can play with anyone. We really do,” DeBoer said. “We feel like we’re that championship-caliber football team, without a doubt. We respect all and fear none. That’s really been something that’s resonated with our guys, and the belief we have that we are that team and we are capable of that.”
The Huskies are led by quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who finished eighth in this year’s Heisman balloting. Penix has had a remarkable campaign, going the second half of this season as the nation’s top passer and finishing with 4,354 yards through the air. He heads into the Alamo Bowl just 104 yards shy of the Washington single-season passing yards record.
The Alamo Bowl will be the Huskies’ 41st bowl appearance.
Texas and Washington have played four times, with the Longhorns owning a 3-1 all-time record. The programs last met in 2001 at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, where Texas overcame a 19-point deficit en route to a 47-43 victory.
–Field Level Media