Let’s Go Bowling: Week One

Anu Solomon hopes to finish a rough season with a W for Arizona. (Courtesy, Fox Sports)

          Anu Solomon hopes to finish a rough season with a W for Arizona. (Courtesy, Fox Sports)

 

December 19
Celebration Bowl: Alcorn State (9-3) vs. North Carolina A&T (9-2), 12:00 P.M.
This bowl game is the only one that features FCS teams with Alcorn State taking on North Carolina A&T.
Alcorn State has won four straight games and has a very potent offense that averages over 40 points per game. The Braves have two FCS losses and one loss to Georgia Tech.
North Carolina A&T has a little worse offense averaging 27.5 points per game but boasts a great defense.
Steve McNair’s alma mater, Alcorn State, will win this game because of their potent offense and the confidence they gained by beating Grambling State in their last game.
Final Score: Alcorn State 34 North Carolina A&T 24
New Mexico Bowl: Arizona (6-6) vs. New Mexico (7-5), 2:00 P.M.
Arizona finished the regular season with six wins and six losses. The offense is dynamic, averaging 36.8 points per game. Quarterback Anu Solomon has missed two games this season with injuries but has thrown 18 touchdowns and only four interceptions. The Wildcat defense has been very disappointing this season allowing over 35 points per game. The main reason for the defensive struggles is the loss of Scooby Wright III to injury for the season. Wright was the best linebacker in the country last year and was a playmaker at middle linebacker for Arizona.
New Mexico finished their season with seven wins. The Lobos boast a great rushing offense with running back Jhurell Pressley leading the way with 846 rushing yards. Defensively New Mexico allows too many yards on the ground letting opponents gash them for 194 yards per game.
The Wildcats will be able to run the ball well against the New Mexico defense and will not be able to be stopped.
Final Score: Arizona 49 New Mexico 29
Las Vegas Bowl: BYU (9-3) vs. #22 Utah (9-3), 3:00 P.M.
A rare rivalry matchup pits BYU versus Utah in the Holy War at the Las Vegas Bowl. Utah leads the all-time series 57-34-4 and has won the last four matchups.
BYU finished the season with nine wins, even though they lost starting quarterback Taysom Hill for the season. The main thing that BYU will have to deal with is the loss of their head coach, Bronco Mendenhall, who left BYU for Virginia. Backup quarterback Tanner Mangum has thrown for over 3,000 yards in his absence and has added some late game heroics. The Cougars have a good defense that is good at limiting both the passing and running game.

Tanner Mangum started the season as QB 2. Now he looks to lead BYU to a Bowl victory. (Courtesy, CBS Sports)

Tanner Mangum started the season as QB 2. Now he looks to lead BYU to a Bowl victory. (Courtesy, CBS Sports)

Utah also had nine wins but has lost their best player, running back Devontae Booker, for the season with an injury. Quarterback Travis Wilson hasn’t been very efficient, but can do damage with his legs. The Utes’ defense has been reliant on turnovers to be successful, but it has worked. They allow 21.8 points per game.
Utah will force turnovers and get the ball back to Wilson a lot. Wilson will get just enough done to get the victory for the Utes.
Final Score: Utah 27 BYU 24
Camellia Bowl: Ohio (8-4) vs. Appalachian State (10-2), 5:30 P.M.
Ohio has won three straight games to get to a total of eight wins on the season. Quarterback Derrius Vick did not play in either of the last two wins but is very valuable because of his dual-threat ability. If he is unable to play, J.D. Sprague will take over. Sprague is good at protecting the football, only throwing one pick in his relief duties. The Bobcats have improved defensively in their last few games, giving up 17 points per game over that stretch.
Appalachian State only has two losses on the season, one to Clemson and one to Arkansas State. The Mountaineers have a great offense that averages 268.8 rushing yards per game. Running back Marcus Cox has been the leading rusher with 1,261 rushing yards on the year. The Mountaineers are also good defensively as they are 13 in the country in points per game allowed.
Appalachian State’s defense and running game will be hard for Ohio to matchup with and the Mountaineers will get the win.
Final Score: Appalachian State 34 Ohio 26
Cure Bowl: San Jose State (5-7) vs. Georgia State (6-6), 7:00 P.M.
San Jose State comes into this bowl game with a losing record, but could make this season a success with a bowl victory. The Spartans have a good running back in Tyler Ervin, who has rushed for 1469 yards and 13 touchdowns. San Jose State’s defense has been great at shutting down the pass, allowing only 153.6 yards per game.
Georgia State finished the season with four straight wins to get to a .500 record. The Panthers are a great passing team with quarterback Nick Arbuckle throwing for over 4,000 yards this season. Unfortunately, the defense has allowed 415 yards per game.
The Panthers will get the best of the Spartans pass defense and get the win because of the great play of Arbuckle.
Final Score: Georgia State 35 SJSU 29
New Orleans Bowl: Arkansas State (9-3) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-4), 9:00 P.M.
Arkansas State finished the season as the champions of the Sun Belt. The Red Wolves have the tenth best scoring offense in the country, which averages 41 points per game. Quarterback Fredi Knighten hasn’t had his best season but is a more than capable passer. The Arkansas State defense has been the problem in their losses this season, allowing 40 points per game in their defeats.
Louisiana Tech has two stars on offense quarterback Jeff Driskel and running back Kenneth Dixon. Driskel, the transfer from Florida, has thrown for over 3,500 yards and 24 touchdowns. Dixon has rushed for 968 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Bulldog defense is in the middle of the pack in division one by giving up 26.8 points per game.
The Red Wolves have a little bit better offense, and that extra firepower will win them the game.
Final Score: Arkansas State 45 Louisiana Tech 37
December 21
Miami Beach Bowl: Western Kentucky (11-2) vs. South Florida Bulls (8-4), 2:30 P.M.
Western Kentucky boasts one of the best offenses in the country, behind a campus legend at quarterback, Brandon Doughty. Doughty threw for over 4,500 yards this season and might be a future pro. The Hilltoppers’ defense has played well win they win and bad win they lose making them the x-factor.

WKU QB Brandon Doughty is a darkhorse NFL quarterback. Can he end his college career with a W? (Courtesy, USA Today)

WKU QB Brandon Doughty is a darkhorse NFL quarterback. Can he end his college career with a W? (Courtesy, USA Today)

South Florida has had a surprisingly good season, finishing with eight wins. Running back Marlon Mack is one of the most talented young backs in the country, and has rushed for 1,273 yards and eight touchdowns. On defense, the Bulls have only allowed more than 30 points in a game to Power Five Conference teams.
Doughty will throw for over 300 yards and get the Hilltoppers the win in his final game.
Final Score: Western Kentucky 52 South Florida 28
December 22
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Akron (7-5) vs. Utah State (6-6), 3:30 P.M.
Akron is bowl eligible for the first time since 2005. Their offense is led by running back Connor Hundley, who has used a power running style to gain 883 yards and 10 touchdowns. The offense only averages 24 points per game, so their defense has had to play well. The Zips are great at stopping the run, holding teams to under 90 yards per game.
Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton has had an injury plagued career but is very talented and capable of keeping the Aggies in games against anyone. He is a great dual threat quarterback but hasn’t put up big numbers because of the injuries. This has resulted in the Aggies averaging 29.7 points per game rather than more. Utah State is great defending the pass, holding opponents to 180 passing yards per game.
Hundley will pick up some yards on the ground for the Zips, but Keeton will do too much for the Aggies for the Zips to keep up.
Final Score: Utah State 32 Akron 25
Boca Raton Bowl: #24 Temple (10-3) vs. Toledo (9-2), 7:00 P.M.
Temple had a chance to make a New Year’s Six Bowl but ended up losing three games. The best player on the team is

Tyler Matakevich left his mark on Temple by helping them have a historic year. He looks for one final win. (Courtesy, Philly.com)

Tyler Matakevich left his mark on Temple by helping them have a historic year. He looks for one final win. (Courtesy, Philly.com)

linebacker Tyler Matakevich, who is the active leader in tackles in division one. He has helped the Owls allow only 19.2 points per game. Quarterback P.J. Walker’s ability to run and throw have made him a unique weapon while running back Jahad Thomas has rushed for 1,275 yards. They have helped Temple average 30.8 points per game.
Toledo was another team that had a chance at a New Year’s Six Bowl but lost two games. The Rockets have a great defense as well and only give up 21 points per game. Their offense is very balanced, averaging over 200 yards passing and rushing.
Temple has better players, and, therefore, will win the game.
Final Score: Temple 27 Toledo 22
December 23
Poinsettia Bowl: Boise State (8-4) vs. Northern Illinois (8-5), 4:30 P.M.
Boise State had a down year by their standards as they failed to reach the Mountain West Championship Game. The problem has been the offense, which has had problems with turning the football over. Their best player is running back Jeremy McNichols, who rushed for 1,244 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. The defense has helped the team win games by allowing only 21 points per game.
Northern Illinois managed to get eight wins but lost in the MAC Championship game to Bowling Green. The Huskies are a good rushing team and have averaged 200 yards per game on the ground. Defensively Northern Illinois has played very well, as they even held Ohio State to just 13 offensive points.
McNichols will make a few big plays that will lead to a Bronco victory.
Final Score: Boise State 29 Northern Illinois 23
GoDaddy Bowl: Georgia Southern (8-4) vs. Bowling Green Falcons (10-3), 8:00 P.M.
Georgia Southern will participate in their first bowl game since joining the FBS. The Eagles have the number one rushing team in the country, averaging 355 yards per game. Running back Matt Breida has accounted for 1,540 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. The Eagle defense has been good, holding teams to 23 points per game, but is aided by the ball control the offense provides.
Bowling Green finished the season as the MAC Champions and ten wins. Quarterback Matt Johnson has thrown for over 4,000 yards, 1,476 of those yards were to talented receiver Roger Lewis. These two make the Falcons offense one of the best in the country. On defense the Falcons have struggled, allowing over 400 yards per game.
Bowling Green’s great offense will be too much for Georgia Southern to keep up with.
Final Score: Bowling Green 52 Georgia Southern 27
December 24
Bahamas Bowl: Middle Tennessee (7-5) vs. Western Michigan (7-5), 12:00 P.M.
Middle Tennessee got seven wins this season by winning their last four games of the season. Quarterback Brent Stockstill is just a Freshman but has thrown for 3,678 yards and 27 touchdowns. The Blue Raiders’ defense got better the last four weeks of the season, giving up an average of 13.75 points per game.
Western Michigan has a very good offense that is balanced. Quarterback Zach Terrell has thrown for over 3,000 yards for the second consecutive season and has a few great receivers to get the ball too. On defense, the Broncos are not great and allow 28 points per game.
The Broncos will win this game because of their dominant offense.
Final Score: Western Michigan 42 Middle Tennessee 30
Hawaii Bowl: San Diego State (10-3) vs. Cincinnati (7-5), 8:00 P.M.

San Diego State got a ten-win season and a MWC Championship this year. The Aztecs will be without their starting quarterback, Maxwell Smith, but still boast a great running back in Donnell Pumphrey, who has rushed for 1,554 yards and 16 touchdowns. The defense has been the tenth best scoring defense in the country, allowing 17.2 points per game.

Hayden Moore was thrown into action multiple times due to injury. He gets his chance to lead UC to a Bowl victory with a little experience on his collar. (Courtesy, FoxSports)

Hayden Moore was thrown into action multiple times due to injury. He gets his chance to lead UC to a Bowl victory with a little experience under his collar. (Courtesy, FoxSports)

Cincinnati had aspirations to play in a New Year’s Six Bowl before the season but underachieved to get seven wins. Starting quarterback Gunner Kiel won’t play in this game because of personal reasons so that Hayden Moore will Start. Moore has gotten experience and has even started in place of Kiel in some games. The Bearcats have a good offense, but their defense gives up 30 points per game.
The Cincinnati offense won’t be affected that much by the fact that Kiel is out while the Aztecs will feel the effects of Smith being out, so the Bearcats will win the game.
Final Score: Cincinnati 34 SDSU 29
Five Players to Watch
Roger Lewis, Wide Receiver, Bowling Green
Lewis is a very talented receiver that will play on Sundays in the future. He has a chance to be the difference maker in the Falcons’ game versus Georgia Southern.
Tyler Matakevich, Linebacker, Temple
Matakevich has had a great career and had a chance to have ten or more tackles against Toledo.
Tyler Wilson, Quarterback, Utah
Wilson will have to pick up the slack without Devontae Booker at running back. He has played well this season but now has to be the primary play-maker for the Utes to beat BYU.
Brandon Doughty, Quarterback, Western Kentucky
Doughty is one of the best in WKU history and will have a great day in his last game for the Hilltoppers.
Jeremy McNichols, Running Back, Boise State
McNichols is capable of making plays in a variety of ways and could be the key to a Boise State bowl victory.

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