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College Football Bowl Previews

Jeff Shain, OFN CFB writer
12/26/2017 11:22AM ET

WEST VIRGINIA (7-5) VS. UTAH (6-6)
 

Site: Cotton Bowl, Dallas.

Kickoff: Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. TV: ESPN.

Line: Utah by 7.

All-time series: Utah leads 1-0.

Last meeting: Utah 32, West Virginia 6 (1964 Liberty Bowl).

WEST VIRGINIA

Coach: Dana Holgorsen (7th season, 53-36).

All-time postseason: 15-20.

Last postseason appearance: Lost to Miami 31-14 in 2016 Russell Athletic Bowl.

Draft spotlight: S Kyzir White. The former juco transfer has fit perfectly as the “spur” in WVU’s 3-3-5 scheme, combining athleticism with a love for delivering big hits. No.2 on team with 81 tackles this year, with 3 INTs. Good bloodlines as brother of Bears WR Kevin White and WVU RB Ka’Raun White.

Other Mountaineers to watch: RB Ka’Raun White, *WR David Sills, HB Elijah Wellman, LB Al-Rasheed Benton.

Mountaineer Lore: WVU will be without dynamic QB Will Grier and two other offensive starters in Dallas. RB Justin Crawford and G Kyle Bosch also are sitting out. … Sills leads the nation with 18 receiving TDs, earning consensus All-America status. … S Kenny Robinson has returned two INTs for TDs this season.

UTAH

Coach: Kyle Whittingham (13th season, 110-56).

All-time postseason: 16-4.

Last postseason appearance: Beat Indiana 26-24 in 2016 Foster Farms Bowl.

Draft spotlight: *SS Chase Hansen. An injury-plagued season has brought questions about whether another year would improve his stock, but the former QB has a long string of hits to make scouts notice. No.3 on team in tackles despite playing just 8 games, he’s solid in both run support and coverage skills.

Other Utes to watch: WR Darren Carrington, DE Kylie Fitts, DT Lowell Lotulelei, DT Filipo Mokofisi.

Ute Tracks: Whittingham owns a 10-1 mark in bowl games, the best winning percentage in NCAA history. Utah has won four straight since losing to Boise State in the 2010 Las Vegas Bowl. … K Matt Gay leads the nation with 27 FGs and won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker. … The Utes went 4-0 in September, then 0-4 in October before splitting November’s four contests.

* underclass draft prospect

Click here to listen to a preview of the bowl season beginning on the 26th of December through New Year’s Day and the CFB Playoffs including the Heart of Dallas Bowl.