Texas squaring off against Cal in Holiday Bowl

Christian Corona

Texas is headed to San Diego to face California in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28.

After wrapping up the regular season with a 48-24 loss to Baylor Saturday, the Longhorns are set to make their fifth Holiday Bowl appearance. Texas was 2-2 in their first four trips to San Diego.

Between its two Rose Bowl victories and a 49-20 win at UCLA earlier this season, Texas will play its eighth game in the state of California since 2000. This year’s Holiday Bowl will mark the Longhorns’ fourth meeting with the Golden Bears and their first since 1970.

“It’s always an exciting game and playing Cal will be a fun challenge for us,” said head coach Mack Brown. “The city of San Diego is not only an ideal location, but is a great host as well. The city really embraces the teams and the game.”

Like Texas, Cal will bring a 7-5 record into the contest. The Golden Bears are coming off a 47-38 win over Arizona State and nearly knocked off No. 4 Stanford the week before when they fell to the Cardinal, 31-28. Cal, who averages nearly 30 points per game, has won three of its last four contests.

“Coach [Jeff] Tedford is obviously known as one of the top offensive coaches in college football,” said defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. “You know when you go against one of his teams, it is going to be a challenge for you defensively.”

Each of the Longhorns’ previous four Holiday Bowl appearances have come under Mack Brown. Texas last played in Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers, in a 52-34 victory over Arizona State. Washington State beat the Longhorns, 28-20, two seasons after Ivan Williams’ 3-yard touchdown in the final minute capped an 80-yard game-winning drive that helped Texas beat Washington, 47-43. Longhorns co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite was inducted into the Holiday Bowl Hall of Fame this June for his 473-yard, four-touchdown performance in that game.

“I’ve told the kids that this will be one of the best bowl experiences they’ll ever have,” Brown said. “This will be our fifth trip to the Holiday Bowl but none of the guys on this team have had a chance to play in one.”

Applewhite’s roommate while he played for the Longhorns, Quentin Jammer, currently plays cornerback for the Chargers and will watch his younger brother, freshman defensive back Quandre Diggs, play on his home turf. Diggs is one of many on Texas’ roster that have not played in a bowl game as the Longhorns were left out of postseason play a year ago.

“It actually fits right into my Christmas plans, I usually go out there to spend some time with my nephews and my brother,” Diggs said. “I’ve been in that locker room. So it’s great just to be able to play in the stadium that your older brother plays in.”

Opening kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN.

Printed on Monday, December 5th, 2011 as: Texas will play California in Holiday Bowl at San Diego