The University of California Golden Bears and University of Texas Longhorns have accepted invitations to play in the 34th annual Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, 2011 President Chuck Wasker announced today. The game kicks off at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 28th at Qualcomm Stadium.
The 2011 Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl will mark the fifth meeting of the two teams. Texas has come out on top in each of the four contests. The two most recently squared off in 1970. Texas won the game at home, 56-15.
“We feel so fortunate to have secured two of America’s most storied college football programs for this year’s game,” said Wasker. “We cannot wait to roll out the red carpet for these two teams and their throngs of fans. It will be quite a show at Qualcomm Stadium on December 28th.”
Coach Jeff Tedford brings his Cal Bears to San Diego with a 7-5 overall record, 4-5 in the Pac-12. This will mark the team’s third appearance in the bowl game, having split the first two. Most recently, they defeated Texas A&M 45-10 in 2006. In the 2004 game they fell to Texas Tech, 45-31.
“We’re very excited about the opportunity to play in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl,” said Tedford. “They do a great job of putting on a first-class event both for our players and fans. We look forward to playing a university with a great tradition such as Texas.”
Cal’s offensive unit showed tremendous improvement in 2011, increasing its total production from 334.00 yards per game and a No. 90 national ranking in 2010 to 418.67 yards per game and a No. 37 national showing this season. The passing game led the way for the improvement, moving in the national rankings from No. 94 (175.08) to No. 38 (251.50 ypg). Much of the damage on offense was done by Keenan Allen, a first-team All-Pac-12 choice that is second in the conference in receptions (7.42) and third in receiving yards (105.08) per game. He is also second on Cal’s all-time single-season lists in both receptions (89) and receiving yards (1,261), while adding a team-high six touchdown catches.
Cal featured the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year in Mychal Kendricks. The linebacker led a defense that paced the Pac-12 in pass defense (209.08 ypg, No. 43 NCAA) and tackles for loss (7.67 tflpg, No. 5 NCAA), while ranking second in total defense (339.42 ypg, No. 26 NCAA). Kendricks is tied for third in the Pac-12 in tackles for loss per game (1.08 tflpg) and fourth in tackles (8.00 tpg), while leading the team in both with totals of a career-high 96 tackles and 13.0 tackles for loss. He also co-leads the squad with a pair of interceptions that he has returned for a team-high 62 yards, while adding 3.0 sacks (team-high -30 yards), two pass breakups and two fumble recoveries that he has returned for a team-high 33 yards.
Texas enters the game with a 7-5 overall record, 4-5 in the Big 12. Coach Mack Brown and the Longhorns are making their fifth trip to San Diego for the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. They are 2-2 in the previous four games, most recently beating Arizona State 52-34 in 2007.
“I’m really looking forward to playing in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl and getting out to San Diego once again,” said Brown. “The RedCoats do such a wonderful job of making it a special week with great hospitality, fun events and topping it off with a terrific game experience. The city of San Diego is not only an ideal location, but it really embraces the teams and is a great host.”
Texas enters the game as the Big 12 leader in total defense (315.3 ypg/14th NCAA) and rushing defense (103.7 ypg/11th NCAA). The Longhorns also rank second in the Big 12 in pass efficiency defense (111.88 rating/14th NCAA). Led by a trio of senior starters in linebackers Emmanuel Acho (120 tackles/18 TFL) and Keenan Robinson (92 tackles/8 TFL) along with safety Blake Gideon (77 tackles/two interceptions), Texas has posted its defensive success despite facing three (Baylor 2nd; Oklahoma State, 3rd; Oklahoma, 4th) of the nation’s top four (and six of the top 15 – Texas A&M, 7th; Missouri, 12th; Texas Tech, 14th) ranked teams in total offense.
The Longhorns offense is led by a ground attack that averages 210.4 yards per game and ranks 19th nationally. Texas is averaging 404 yards of offense and nearly 30 points per game. Although they’ve been limited with injuries over the last few weeks, true freshman running backs Malcolm Brown (707 yards and 5 TDs) and Joe Bergeron (454 yards and 5 TDs) are expected back at full speed for the Holiday Bowl. They combined to produce 1,161 yards, 10 TDs and four 100-yard rushing games in their first season at Texas. With a young QB duo of sophomore Case McCoy and true freshman David Ash taking the snaps, the Longhorns passing attack has been led by another true freshman, Jaxon Shipley. Shipley missed three games with a knee injury but leads the team with 40 catches for 593 yards and three TDs and is coming off of a four-catches for 121 yards at Baylor.
“It’s always an exciting game and playing Cal will be a fun challenge for us,” Brown continued. “Jeff Tedford is a great friend who is a tremendous football coach. He’s the winningest coach in Cal history, so he’s had the Bears playing at a consistently high level for a long time, and we look forward to playing them.”
Tickets for the 2011 Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl can be purchased by calling TicketMaster at 1-800-745-3000, or by visiting www.Bridgepoint EducationHolidayBowl.com.