Utah to Face Navy in SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl

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The University of Utah Utes accepted an invitation to play the Navy Midshipmen in the third annual San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, 2007 President Rudy Castruita announced today.  The football game will be played Thursday, December 20th at 6 p.m. (PST) at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.  The game kicks off the 2007-08 bowl season and will be televised nationally on ESPN.

“We are so excited the Utah Utes football program and their loyal fans will be making their way to San Diego for the third annual bowl game,” said Castruita.  “We look forward to rolling out the red carpet and hosting them in our great city.  The Utes and Midshipmen are going to put on quite a show for football fans all around the country.”

Utah finished the regular season 8-4, 5-3 in the Mountain West Conference.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to play in the Poinsettia Bowl,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “We have several players, as well as a large alumni base, from the Southern California area. It’s also a great destination for our fans from Utah. We always have a large fan contingent at our regular season games in Qualcomm Stadium and we anticipate an even bigger turnout for the bowl game.

“We’ll have a strong opponent in the U.S. Naval Academy. We’ve never played the Midshipmen before, but we expect the same type of discipline, toughness and level of execution that we face every year in Air Force.

“The players and coaches are excited about our opportunity to play another game. The date is ideal for the players, in that it allows them to spend the holidays with their families after the bowl game.”

Utah has won its last six bowl games, dating back to 1999, which is the second-longest postseason win streak in the nation. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl marks the fifth-straight bowl appearance for the Utes.

The Utes won seven of their last eight games to finish the season, including impressive wins against a ranked UCLA team, at Louisville and at home against New Mexico.  Utah is led by junior running back Darrell Mack, who recently became the ninth Ute to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.  He is ranked 31st in the nation in yards per game (102.5).  Utah finished in the top five nationally in scoring defense this season, despite losing All-American Eric Weddle to the San Diego Chargers in the 2007 NFL draft.

The 2006 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl featured a 37-7 TCU Horned Frogs victory over Northern Illinois Huskies.

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