Las Vegas Bowl Preview Capsule

Publish date:

BYU (9-3) vs. No. 20 Utah (9-3, No. 22 CFP), 3:30 p.m. EST (ABC)

Line: Utah by 2

Series Record: Utah leads 57-34-4, according to Utah; 54-31-4 according to BYU


The Las Vegas Bowl has plenty of juice with its matchup of rivals BYU and Utah. The story lines are abundant. This will be BYU's final game under coach Bronco Mendenhall after 11 seasons at the helm. He's going for his 100th win before leaving to take over at Virginia. There's also plenty of pride at stake in a series dubbed The Holy War. Utah is trying to finish off a once-promising season on the right note. The Utes started 6-0 and were once ranked No. 3 in the country. Now the first 10-win season since joining the Pac-12 in 2011 is the prize and a victory over the Cougars would be the icing on the cake.


BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum was one of the most talked about players early in the college football season as he led the Cougars to thrilling comebacks against Nebraska and Boise State. The strong-armed freshman has thrown for 3,062 yards, 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Utah has the No. 97 pass defense in the country, but is opportunistic with 19 interceptions - tied for seventh-most in the country.


BYU: DE Bronson Kaufusi. The senior defensive lineman is seventh in the nation with 11.5 sacks and is fifth on the team with 55 tackles. He may be the top NFL prospect on the roster. The 6-foot-8, 280-pounder is playing his last game for his dad, defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi.

Utah: QB Travis Wilson. The offense is heavily reliant on the senior quarterback, especially with running back Devontae Booker out. The 6-7, 233-pound Wilson is the reigning Las Vegas Bowl MVP and holds the school record for quarterback starts and ranks No. 2 with 23 career wins. Consistency, however, has been an issue throughout his career.


The two schools have conflicting data on the series record. Utah says the series began in 1896 while BYU says 1922, leading to different series records depending on which school is proving the information. ... BYU and Utah are playing on a neutral field for the first time. ... Mendenhall has taken the Cougars to 11 consecutive bowls. ... The Utes are without RB Devontae Booker, who underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee in late November. Booker is third in school history with 2,773 yards rushing. ... Utah punter Tom Hackett won the Ray Guy Award recognizing the nation's top punter. ... Former coach LaVell Edwards is the lone 100-game winner in BYU history.