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Utah and BYU to face off in Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

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Posted at 2:20 PM, Dec 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-06 23:19:47-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- The University of Utah Utes will play the Brigham Young University Cougars in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl December 19, and the match-up marks the first time in history the two rivals will meet in a bowl game.

The "Holy War" in Las Vegas also means BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall's final game with the Cougars will be against his in-state rival.

According to a press release from the Athletics Department at the University of Utah, the Utes accepted the invitation to play in the bowl game, which is scheduled for Saturday, December 19 at 1:30 p.m. MT in Las Vegas. According to the box office for the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, the tickets available through their systems are sold out. Each school will also be selling a certain number of tickets through their websites, click here for BYU and here for Utah.

Bronco Mendenhall announced earlier this week he was taking the top coaching job at University of Virginia and that the Las Vegas Bowl would be his last game at the helm of BYU. With 99 wins with the Cougars in his 11 seasons, Mendenhall could cap off his time in Provo with a final win over Utah and a 100th win overall should they upset the No. 20-ranked Utes.

“We are looking forward to this unique opportunity of playing against a rival like Utah in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall stated in a press release. “This will be the first time this rivalry game has taken place in a bowl setting so it has some historic significance as well being a great matchup between two teams that have had outstanding seasons. This will be our 11th straight bowl game and I’m definitely looking forward to coaching this team one last time as we take the field in Las Vegas striving to achieve our 10th win of the season.”

Utah, 9-3 overall, were co-champions of the Pac-12 South Division with a 6-3 conference record, according to the press release. BYU, an independent, is 9-3.

“After being nationally ranked since the second week of the season and finishing as co-champion of the Pac-12 South Division, we are looking forward to our ninth bowl game in the last 11 seasons," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham stated in the press release. "Las Vegas is a great destination for our fans and the bowl organizers work hard to make it a memorable experience for the players."

According to the press release from BYU, the game renews a rivalry that was not scheduled for the past two regular seasons, and this game will be the 90th meeting of the two teams. The series began in 1922. Overall, the Utes lead that series 54-31-4, and Utah won the last game between the two teams 20-13 in Provo in 2013.

The two teams are scheduled to resume their regular rivalry next season in Salt Lake City.

“We are excited to be returning to Las Vegas to play in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl,” BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe stated in the press release. “BYU–Utah is one of the great rivalries in college football. Playing each other for the first time in a bowl game should add a unique chapter to our storied history.”

Utah Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill stated: "This has been our best season as members of the Pac-12 and we are pleased at the opportunity to play one more game. Through our past experience, we know that the people involved with the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl will provide a wonderful experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans.”