The 2021 Las Vegas Bowl features the 8-4 Wisconsin Badgers against the 8-4 Arizona State Sun Devils. Here is the 2021 Las Vegas Bowl Preview.
Wisconsin Badgers (8-4)
Wisconsin won eight games to make their third straight bowl game. They defeated four bowl-eligible teams this season, including Iowa. The Badgers lost four games, all of which were to teams who made bowl games.
The offense scores 25.8 points per game, ranking them 86th in the country. They rush for 215.4 yards (ranked 14th) and pass for 162.1 yards per game (ranked 118th).
Graham Mertz has been the quarterback for the Badgers again this season and has struggled. He has passed for 1,821 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 58.7 percent completion. Four pass-catchers have over 200 receiving yards on the season for Wisconsin. Danny Davis III leads the team with 478 receiving yards on 32 catches for two touchdowns. Tight end Jake Ferguson has been a matchup problem with 43 receptions for 417 yards and two touchdowns. Kendric Pryor has also been impressive with 31 catches for 406 yards and three touchdowns.
While Chez Mellusi started the year as the lead back, it has been freshman Braelon Allen who has taken over the backfield. Allen has rushed for 1,109 yards and 12 touchdowns. Mellusi finished the regular season with 815 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
Their defense has been strong, allowing 16.4 points per game, ranking them sixth in the country. They give up 65.2 rushing yards (ranked first) and 175.6 passing yards per game (ranked sixth). Linebacker Leo Chanel has had a great year with 87 total tackles, which leads the team. He is also tied for the team-lead in sacks with Nate Herbig with seven. Safety Collin Wilder and Caesar Williams each have three interceptions on the season.
Arizona State Sun Devils (8-4)
The Sun Devils won eight games to make their third bowl game under Herm Edwards. They defeated one bowl-eligible team this season, which was UCLA. All four of their losses came to a team that didn’t qualify for bowl games.
Arizona State scores 29.7 points per game, tying them for 55th in the country. They rush for 202.3 yards (ranked 24th) and pass for 197.6 yards per game (ranked 97th).
Running back Rachaad White leads the team in rushing at 1,006 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has opted out of this bowl game. DeaMonte Trayanum and Daniyel Ngata will be asked to step up in his place. They have 402 and 286 rushing yards respectively.
Quarterback Jayden Daniels is one of the more experienced quarterbacks in college football. He passed for 2,221 yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions on 66.4 percent completion. His leading receiver is Ricky Pearsall, who has 44 catches for 515 yards and four touchdowns. With White being out, tight end Curtis Hodges and wide receiver LV Bunkley-Shelton will need to add more to the passing game. They each have over 350 receiving yards on the season.
Their defense allows 20.9 points per game, tying them for 20th in the country. They concede 129 rushing yards (ranked 32nd) and 198.2 passing yards per game (ranked 26th). Linebacker Kyle Soelle leads the team with 76 total tackles. Cornerback Jack Jones has been great in the secondary with six passes defended and three interceptions.
Wisconsin’s defense will make it tough on anyone to win a game. That is especially true with White opting out. The Badgers will make it low-scoring, but they will be able to come out on top.
Wisconsin Badgers 27 Arizona State Sun Devils 17
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