BYU football to play UAB in Independence Bowl

The Independence Bowl is Dec. 18 in Shreveport, La.

BYU defensive back Matthew Criddle (17) celebrates after breaking up a pass to Idaho State wide receiver Jared Scott in the first half during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The BYU football team officially has its bowl matchup.

The Cougars will face the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the Independence Bowl. The game will be played on Dec. 18 in Shreveport, La.

“UAB is very well-coached and has had a lot of success under the leadership of Bill Clark, who is an exceptional coach,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said in a news release. “Our team is excited to have one more opportunity to take the field together and build upon what we have already accomplished together this season. We are looking forward to the matchup.”

The Cougars have a contract with the Independence Bowl for this season.

BYU finished the season ranked No. 12 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, with Utah leapfrogging it into No. 10 after winning the Pac-12 title over Oregon on Saturday. The team also finished 13th in the College Football Playoff rankings, down one spot from last week.

The Cougars and Blazers have never played each other. UAB finished with an 8-4 record this season, including going 6-2 in Conference USA. The Blazers were the second best team in the West division of their conference.

The Cougars started the season hot, winners of their first five games. But they dropped two consecutive games against Boise State and Baylor, which hurt them when it came to their standing among college football’s elite.

However, BYU ran off five more wins to finish the year. In all, it went 5-0 against Pac-12 schools, including a gutsy win over USC on the road on the final game of its 2021 season.