It will be Tech’s second game against Utah and 13th against a team from the expanded Pac-12. Tech is 5-7 all-time against Arizona, Cal, Stanford and Utah.
The Utes won four of their last five to finish at 7-5 and 4-5 in conference play. In the final regular-season game, when a win would have sent the Utah to the Pac-12 championship game, the Utes lost 17-14 to Colorado, which had previously lost 23 consecutive road games.
“We’re excited,” Olivas said Sunday night. “People are going to see two different styles of football, both of which are very productive.”
The Jackets will face a stout defensive unit. Utah is ranked No. 7 in rushing defense, No. 18 in scoring defense and No. 23 in pass efficiency defense. Running back John White is No. 11 in the country at 117.0 rushing yards per game.
Utah has been known for running a spread offense, but moved to a West Coast offense this year with new offensive coordinator Norm Chow. The Utes put up 54 points on BYU in September but averaged a modest 24.6 points per game.
The game has sold out four of the past seven years, Olivas said, averaging more than 52,000 for the past 10 years in the 51,500-seat Sun Bowl Stadium. Tech will be allotted 8,000 tickets. It’s not an easy trip from Atlanta. It’s a 1,400-mile drive. Sunday night, the cheapest available flight on travel website kayak.com leaving Dec. 27 and returning Jan. 1 was $470.
El Paso sits on the U.S.-Mexico border and at the western tip of Texas, bordering New Mexico.