Texas accepts bid to 2007 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
AUSTIN, Texas -- The University of Texas (9-3) has accepted an invitation to be the Big 12 representative in the 2007 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl where it will face the Arizona State University Sun Devils (10-2) of the Pac-10 Conference on Thursday, Dec. 27 at 7 p.m. Central on ESPN in San Diego's 70,561-seat Qualcomm Stadium.
"We're looking forward to getting out to San Diego and preparing for another great Holiday Bowl," said head coach Mack Brown. "All of the red coats and the city and people of San Diego do such a great job of welcoming the teams that it will again be a great experience for our guys."
This will be the first meeting between the No. 17/17 Longhorns and the No.12/11 Sun Devils. It will mark UT's fourth appearance in the Holiday Bowl and the first since 2003. All three previous appearances have come down to the wire and have been decided by a total of 17 points after having defeated Washington, 47-43, in 2001, while falling to Oregon, 35-30, in '00 and Washington State, 28-20, in '03.
With its invitation, Texas is playing in a bowl game for a UT-record 10th straight season, bettering the previous mark of nine straight bowl games from 1977-85. The Horns have won five of their last six bowl games and have a 6-3 record in bowl contests under Mack Brown. In the 10 years prior to his arrival, Texas went to four bowls and was 1-3. Brown is the first UT coach since Darrell Royal, who was 8-7-1 in bowl games, to post a .500 or better record in bowls.
Under Brown, Texas won bowl games in three consecutive years for the first time in school history (2004-06). They are one of only four schools nationally to accomplish that feat. The Horns did win five straight bowl contests previously (1963-64, '66, '68-69), but the streak was interrupted by seasons that did not result in a bowl game. Brown's personal string, including time at North Carolina, goes back even further. Including this season, he has directed his teams to 16 straight bowl games, which is the second-longest active streak in the nation.
"As a team, our focus will be on getting that 10th win and keeping our bowl winning streak alive," Brown said. "We've got a lot of work to do and the Holiday Bowl always seems to be a wild game with lots of sudden changes so we're looking forward to getting back on the practice field and preparing to play."
Texas has posted at least nine victories for the 10th straight season. The streak of 10 straight seasons of nine or more victories is a UT first. In addition, with 10 wins in his final two seasons at North Carolina, Mack Brown is the lone coach nationally to lead his team to nine or more victories in 12 straight seasons.
This season, the Texas offense is averaging 462.0 yards of total offense (13th NCAA), 199.8 rushing yards (25th NCAA), 262.2 passing yards (36th NCAA) and 36.0 points per game (19th NCAA). UT has produced at least 400 yards of total offense in eight games and at least 500 yards in five, while scoring at least 30 points in eight of the 12 games.
Sophomore QB Colt McCoy directs the offense and has a 19-6 career record as a starter. He is already tied for ninth on UT's all-time victories list with Bret Stafford (19-15, 1985-87). During his 25-game career, McCoy has completed 472-of-711 passes (66.4%) for 5,699 yards and 50 TDs against 25 INTs for a passer rating of 149.9. His 5,699 passing yards are already sixth best on school record and his 50 TD passes are fourth all-time. In total, McCoy has produced 6,277 yards of total offense (5,699p/578r) including nine games of at least 300 total yards. He is just the seventh Longhorn in school history to eclipse the 6,000-yard plateau and ranks seventh on UT's all-time total offense list.
In 2007, McCoy has gone 255-of-393 (64.9%) for 3,129 yards (No. 3 on UT's single-season list) and 21 TDs for a passer rating of 140.2 (24th NCAA) in 2007. McCoy is also the team's second-leading rusher with 408 yards, including at least 40 yards rushing in five of the last six games and his first career 100-yard rushing game (106 at Oklahoma State). He has amassed 3,537 total yards on the season (18th NCAA/No. 2 on UT's single-season list).
Junior RB Jamaal Charles, who was a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award and has been named first-team All-Big 12 this season, has carried the ball 231 times for 1,458 yards (No. 5 on UT's single-season list) and 16 TDs (T-No. 9 NCAA/No. 6 on UT's single-season list) in 2007. His 121.5 yards per game rank 11th nationally and first in the Big 12. His 6.3 yards per carry average ranks eighth nationally. For his career, Charles has posted 3,167 yards (No. 5 on UT's all-time list) on 506 carries (6.3 ypc) and scored 34 TDs (No. 6 on UT's all-time list). He has also caught 47 passes for 528 yards (11.2 ypc) and three TDs.
On defense this season, Texas is allowing 24.6 points, 374.8 total yards, 99.3 rushing yards per game (10th NCAA), while holding opponents to a 129.5 passer rating. The Horns have held their opponents under 300 total yards five times and only allowed six teams to reach 100 yards rushing.
Senior DTs Derek Lokey and Frank Okam anchor the unit. Lokey, who is a first-team All-Big 12 selection and was a member of the Nagurski and Lott Trophy watch lists, has notched 46 tackles, eight TFL, a sack and 12 pressures this season. For his career, he has posted 97 tackles, 17 TFL, three sacks, 29 pressures, three PBD and a fumble recovery in 42 games (20 starts).
Okam, who earned second-team All-Big 12 honors and was a member of the Outland Trophy watch list, has posted 49 tackles, 10 TFL, five sacks, 16 pressures, four PBD, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 2007. In 49 career games (38 starts), Okam has posted 157 tackles, 27 TFL, 10 sacks, 46 pressures, 11 PBD, a forced fumble and five fumble recoveries.
First year head coach Dennis Erickson led Arizona State to a 10-2 record and a share of the Pac-10 title. The 10 wins is the most since ASU won 11 in 1996, the last time they won a Pac-10 championship. They finished their 2007 Pac-10 schedule with a record of 7-2.
Tickets for the 2007 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl can be ordered by going to TexasBoxOffice.com or calling the UT Athletics Ticket Office at 512-471-3333 or 800-982-BEVO. The Athletics Ticket Office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central.