Two teams that had hopes to make the College Football Playoff will be playing in the 2017 Playstation Fiesta Bowl. Both Penn State and Washington stumbled a little bit in the regular season, but were still able to make it to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. Here is the 2017 Playstation Fiesta Bowl preview:
11 Washington Huskies (10-2)
Washington made the CFP last season, but this year will have to settle for the Playstation Fiesta Bowl. They got to 10 wins on the season and beat five bowl eligible teams. Their notable wins include Fresno State and Washington State.
The offense scores 36.9 points per game and has some stars at almost every position. Their running game is the strong point and averages 189.8 rushing yards per game. Myles Gaskin leads the charge with 1,282 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. His backups, Lavon Coleman and Salvon Ahmed, each have over 300 yards on the season in relief.
Jake Browning still operates the offense and has had an efficient season. He has thrown for 2,544 yards, 18 touchdowns and five interceptions on 68.8% completion. Dante Pettis is his favorite target and makes plays on offense and is a record setting return man. He has 62 catches for 721 yards and seven touchdowns. He has blazing speed and gets separation from anyone covering him.
The defense is one of the best in the country, allowing 14.5 points per game. They have the number one rush defense in the country and are 21st against the pass. Defensive lineman Vita Vea is a big part of helping Washington stop the run. He has 37 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks this season. He is often double teamed, which frees up teammates to get to the ball.
8 Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)
Penn State lost two tough games on back to back weeks to knock them out of playoff contention. They lost at Ohio State and at Michigan State, but won every other game on their schedule to get to 10 wins. Michigan, Northwestern and Iowa are some of their notable wins.
The offense has been great the past few seasons and this year they averaged 41.6 points per game. Their running game has one of the best players in the country in Saquon Barkley. Barkley rushed for 1,134 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, while cementing his status as one of college football’s best players. Quarterback Trace McSorley runs the ball well too with 431 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
McSorley had a great season passing the ball with 3,228 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 65.3% passing. He has plenty of good targets to throw to between DaeSean Hamilton, Juwan Johnson, Barkley and tight end Mike Gesicki. All of the players listed have over 500 yards receiving. Hamilton leads the team with 747 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
Their defense has been elite this season and allows 15.5 points per game. They rank 16th against the run and 47th against the pass. Senior linebacker Jason Cabinda is the leader of the defense and has 86 total tackles, seven tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks this season.
Penn State will find a way to get Barkley the football, whether it’s handing it to him, throwing it to him or letting him return kicks. Washington’s defense is good, but Barkley will be the best player on the field. Bryce Love was the last running back that Washington played that was somewhat near Barkley’s ability and Love gashed them for 166 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Expect much of the same.
Penn State Nittany Lions 26 Washington Huskies 21
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