Baylor struggled down the stretch and won’t catch any breaks, as they play Boise State in the 2016 Motel 6 Cactus Bowl.
Boise State Broncos
Another year and Boise State has another ten win season. They only lost on the road to very good teams, Wyoming and Air Force. They beat a lot of bowl eligible teams including: Hawaii, Colorado State, BYU and Washington State.
Brett Rypien has had one of the best seasons for a college football quarterback, but people still might not know who he is. The sophomore quarterback has thrown for 3,341 yards and 23 touchdowns. The best thing that Rypien has done is protect the football and has only six interceptions on the year. He is reliable, but some will question whether he can protect the football in big games, as he threw three of his interceptions against Washington State.
Boise State has two different 1,000 yard receivers. Thomas Sperbeck has 1,193 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns. Cedrick Wilson has been more of a big play receiver with 1,041 yards on 20.8 yards per catch and ten touchdowns. These two both being good means that Baylor likely can’t double team one, because the other will light them up.
Jeremy McNichols has said that he will leave for the NFL Draft. He is one of the best all around backs in college football. McNichols rushed for 1,663 yards and 23 touchdowns. He has added value, in that, he has 450 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns. Shiftiness and quickness are two traits that McNichols brings to the table to help out in both rushing and receiving.
The Broncos has a below average rush defense that allows 180 yards per game. Their pass defense is solid and gives up just 200 yards per game.
Linebacker Ben Weaver has been the best player on the Boise State defense. He has been all over the field with 99 total tackles.
Baylor started off the season hot, but faltered down the stretch to finish 6-6. They won six straight and then lost six straight to get to the .500 mark. They beat one bowl eligible team on the season in Oklahoma State. Their losses to bowl ineligible teams include Texas and Texas Tech.
Seth Russell was the starting quarterback for the Bears, but he had a gruesome leg injury that ended his season. Zach Smith filled in to throw for 1,151 yards and ten touchdowns on 56% completion percentage. That is decent for a freshman quarterback, but he needs to play better than he ever has to get Baylor a win.
KD Cannon has been the best receiver for Baylor. He finished the regular season with 945 receiving yards and 11 receiving touchdowns. Behind Cannon, the Bears have three other receivers that have over 400 yards receiving.
The second leading rusher, Shock Linwood, will not be playing in the bowl game to prepare for the NFL Draft. That means the bulk of the carries will go to Terence Williams, their leading rusher. He has 945 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. The sophomore is capable of carrying the load for the Bears.
Baylor has a terrible run defense that allows 211 yards per game. The pass defense is more highly rated and gives up 224 yards per game.
Defensive Back Orion Stewart has been great at forcing turnovers with five interceptions. He will be tasked with shutting down one of the 1,000 yard receivers from Boise State.
Baylor has shown their heart isn’t in this anymore. Boise State always shows up to play in big games. The Broncos will use McNichols in the running game to set up the passing game, while the defense gets enough stops to win the game.
Boise State Broncos 41 Baylor Bears 26