Starting in 1939, the Utes have participated in 16 bowl games, ranging from the New Mexico Bowl to the Sugar Bowl. Here's a look back.
Boise State 26, Utah 3
Las Vegas, Dec. 22
This devastating loss to Boise State (11-1) brought to an end the Utes' (10-2) nine consecutive bowl victories. Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore led the Broncos to 26 points in their last game as a member of the WAC, while the Terrence Cain-led Utes managed just eight first downs, scoring their lone field goal in the first quarter.
Wisconsin 38, Utah 10
Tucson, Ariz., Dec. 27
Ron McBride's fourth bowl game with the Utes looked to be a fun day of football for Ute fans, but the Badgers had other plans. After losing running back Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala in the first quarter due to injury, Utah trailed 31-3 at the break. Quarterback Mike Fouts threw for 327 yards, but also was intercepted four times. Ron Dayne dominated the day, rushing for 246 yards.
USC 28, Utah 21
Anaheim, Calif., Dec. 30
After a disappointing bowl loss the previous year to Washington State in the Copper Bowl, the Utes had a chance at redemption, facing one of college football's most storied programs. The Trojans rolled to a 28-0 halftime advantage, but the second half belonged to the Utes. Wide receiver Henry Lusk (59-yard touchdown reception) and Jamal Anderson (34-yard TD run) got the Utes within seven points, but Mike McCoy's Hail Mary pass was intercepted as time expired.
Washington State 31, Utah 28
Tucson, Ariz., Dec. 29
After nearly 28 years without a postseason appearance, Ron McBride guided the Utes to a 6-5 season and the start of multiple bowl games to come. The favored Cougars raced off to a 21-0 first-quarter lead — Drew Bledsoe wound up throwing for 476 yards in the game — but the Utes clawed their way back. Quarterback Frank Dolce, receiver Sean Williams and running back Keith Williams led the charge, but Chris Yergerson's game-tying 20-yard field goal attempt late in the game was wide left.
Utah 26 New Mexico 0
El Paso, Texas, Jan. 2
Utes coach Ike Armstrong led Utah to the program's first bowl game. From the start of the game the Big Seven champion Utes dominated, scoring three touchdowns before the half while their defense held the potent aerial attack of New Mexico to just 59 yards, thanks in part to four interceptions. In the second half, the Border League-champion Lobos tightened its defense, but it was too little, too late.
Utah 32, West Virginia 6
Atlantic City, N.J., Dec. 19
This game made a lot of college football history: It was the first football game to ever be played indoors; it was the first game ever broadcast nationwide in the United States; and it was the only game ever played in Atlantic City. All-American kicker Roy Jefferson connected on two field goals in the Convention Center before injuring his shoulder. The Utes' offense accumulated 466 yards, while the defense held the Mountaineers to just one score.
Utah 16, Arizona 13
Anaheim, Calif., Dec. 27
After a successful season in which the Utes' offense was ranked 11th in country, Arizona provided a formidable challenge with its Desert Swarm defense. The Utes were limited to five first downs the entire game and only produced 75 yards of total offense, but fate would smile on the Utes as they scored on two 5-yard drives, thanks to special teams play. The victory was Utah's first bowl win in 20 years.
Utah 17, Southern Miss 0
Memphis, Tenn., Dec. 31
In Urban Meyer's first year as head coach, he transformed a program gaining momentum into a locomotive. During his first season at the Ute helm, Meyer only lost two games and the Utes entered the Liberty Bowl as Mountain West Conference champions. Morgan Scalley proved to be the Utes' Superman. After causing a turnover that led to the Utes' first score of the game, he later recovered a fumble and ran it into the end zone, helping secure the Utes' second shutout bowl victory, but first since 1939.
Utah 25, Tulsa 13
Fort Worth, Texas, Dec. 23
In Kyle Whittingham's second year as head coach, bowl MVP kicker/punter/king Louie Sakoda made all four of his field goal attempts, while the ever-versatile Eric Weddle scored the game-clinching touchdown on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter. Steve Tate led the defense with 10 tackles, while quarterback Brett Ratliff threw for 240 yards in the Utes' sixth-straight bowl victory.
Utah 37, California 27
San Diego, Dec. 23
As the game started, California came out hard and fast, scoring on a 36-yard run and then picking off Jordan Wynn for a 30-yard touchdown return on the next possession, but Whittingham rallied his troops. Defensive MVP Stevenson Sylvester's 27-yard interception return gave the Utes some breathing room and a 37-21 lead. Cal scored with 1:46 remaining in the game but that's as close as the Bears would get. Freshman quarterback Jordan Wynn was the offensive MVP, throwing for 338 yards, just miles from his hometown of Oceanside.
Utah 17, Fresno State 16
Las Vegas, Dec. 18
This game featured a matchup of the champions of the WAC, Fresno State, and the champions of the breakaway conference Mountain West, Utah. Mike Anderson and Omar Bacon combined for 254 rushing yards for the Utes. The U.'s special teams came up big in the fourth quarter, blocking an extra point and helped Utah set up Cletus Truhe's game-winning 33-yard field goal. It was the MWC's first bowl victory.
Utah 38, Georgia Tech 10
San Francisco, Dec. 29
Utah entered the game as the underdogs to the 24th-ranked Calvin Johnson-led Yellow Jackets, but the Utes dominated both sides of the ball. Quarterback Brett Ratliff threw for 381 yards — a Utah bowl record — and four touchdown passes (all to wide receiver Travis LaTendresse, the game's offensive MVP, who finished with 16 catches for 214 yards). Eric Weddle, who also played quarterback and on special teams, held Megatron to just two catches for 19 yards.
Utah 10, USC 6
Las Vegas, Dec. 25
In Ron McBride's last bowl game with the Utes, Utah faced off against USC, a team that had defeated the Utes eight years ago in this same bowl. This matchup proved to be another defensive showdown, with both teams struggling to put points on the board. Running back Adam Tate scored the Utes' only touchdown, while Dameon Hunter rushed for 94 yards and was the game's offensive MVP. It was the Sheldon Deckart-led defense, however, that came up big. The Utes held Carson Palmer — who won the Heisman Trophy and led USC to the national championship in 2002 — to just 150 yards.
Utah 35, Navy 32
San Diego, Dec. 20
In Kyle Whittingham's third year as head coach, this would prove to be his most challenging bowl game yet. Navy led 17-7 in the third quarter, but Utah didn't panic. The Utes kept up the offensive attack as Darrell Mack scored his second touchdown of the game, giving his team a 35-25 lead. Navy scored a late touchdown and recovered an onside kick, only to have defensive MVP Joe Dale end the game with an interception. Dale also had 12 tackles.
Utah 35, Pittsburgh 7
Tempe, Ariz., Jan. 1
A game that forever put Utah on the map of the college football world, Utah went 12-0 and became the first non-BCS team to play in a BCS game — and won going away. Alex Smith turned in one of his best games as a Ute player, completing 29-of-37 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns. Four months later he was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. The game featured several outstanding performances, including Paris Warren (15 catches,198 yards), nose guard Steve Fifita (defensive MVP), Eric Weddle (11 tackles) and Tommy Hackenbruck (10 tackles, 3 sacks).
Utah 31, Alabama 17
New Orleans, Jan. 2
The Utes stunned the country, beating SEC powerhouse and No. 4 Alabama. The victory preserved the Utes' undefeated season. Utah came out against Alabama in a no-huddle offense, led by MWC and soon-to-be Sugar Bowl MVP Brian Johnson. The Utes roared out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Alabama fans were shocked. The No. 6 Utes cruised to their second BCS victory, ending the season as the only undefeated FBS team and with a No. 2 national ranking.