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WVU to play Utah in Heart of Dallas Bowl on Dec. 26

The Mountaineers will represent the Big 12 in a bowl game for the fifth time.

NCAA Football: Texas at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time ever, West Virginia will play a football bowl game in Dallas as the Mountaineers have been invited to play in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Utah on Tuesday, December 26, at 1:20 p.m., in the Cotton Bowl.

WVU finished the season 7-5, 5-4 in Big 12 play, but lost its final two games of the regular season after losing starting QB Will Grier to a broken finger/hand. In order to avoid a three-game losing streak to end what appeared to be a decent season, the Mountaineers will need to come up with a win against the Utes, who amassed a 6-6 record, 3-6 in the Pac 12, and finished fifth in the South division.

These two teams have met just once before, a 32-6 Utah victory in the 1964 Liberty Bowl in Atlantic City, New Jersey. That is notably the first major college football bowl game played indoors. This matchup will take place in the 92,00-seat Cotton Bowl, under the Texas sky.

The Heart of Dallas Bowl is the final Big 12-tied bowl to select a team from the conference. It will host its eighth game this year, as it was founded in 2011. WVU will be the third Big 12 team to play in this bowl game.

The Big Ten conference had a contractual tie to the game, but because the conference did not have enough bowl-eligible teams, the Bowl selected a team from the Pac 12, which had nine teams reach bowl eligibility.

This is the fourth-straight bowl game for Dana Holgorsen and the WVU program and this will also be the fourth-straight winning season for Dana at WVU. In total, WVU has now earned six bowl berths and is 2-3 in the five he’s coached.

The 2017 Heart of Dallas Bowl will mark the 36th appearance by a WVU football team in a bowl game, which is the 26th-most appearances in Division I FBS history. The Mountaineers are 10-15 overall in bowl games.