Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Utah quarterback Troy Williams (3) breaks away past Colorado defensive back Afolabi Laguda during a 34-13 win on Nov. 25. The Utes will face West Virginia in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia is headed to the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl to face Utah on Dec. 26.

Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. on ESPN from the Cotton Bowl.

Passed over by the Liberty and the Cactus bowls, the Mountaineers (7-5) settled for the Big 12’s final bowl affiliate after finishing tied for fourth place in the conference.

The Liberty chose Iowa State (7-5) to face Memphis while Cactus officials paired Kansas State (7-5) against UCLA. West Virginia beat both of those Big 12 schools, though bowl committees are not mandated to follow the pecking order of the standings.

There was even some discussion of Texas Tech (6-6) leapfrogging into the Heart of Dallas Bowl to capitalize on the local fan base, which would have dropped West Virginia into the Birmingham Bowl.

The potential absence of quarterback Will Grier to a throwing hand injury hurt West Virginia’s postseason prospects.

Utah (6-6, 3-6 Pac-12) started 4-0 this season before struggling in league play, suffering close losses at USC (28-27) and at Washington (33-30), along with a 23-20 home setback to Stanford. The Utes became bowl-eligible in their final regular-season game by defeating Colorado 34-13.

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