The 2017 Las Vegas Bowl will be the first game during bowl season to feature a top 25 team. It is a fun pairing of teams between Oregon and Boise State. The matchup will feature a lot of offense and is the headliner of the first Saturday slate of bowl games. Here are how the teams look:
25. Boise State Broncos (10-3)
Boise State beat Fresno State to become Mountain West champions. They only lost to bowl eligible teams this season in Virginia, Washington State and Fresno State, before the Mountain West Championship Game. As for good wins, Boise State won the game against Fresno State in the MWC Championship Game and also beat Troy and San Diego State.
Brett Rypien and Montell Cozart both got significant time at quarterback for the Broncos. Rypien has been the starter since his freshman year, he is now a junior, but they brought in Cozart as a change of pace. Between the two of them, they have thrown for over 3,200 yards, rushed for over 300 yards, thrown 24 touchdowns and just five interceptions. The Broncos’ have one star receiver they try to get the ball to in Cedrick Wilson who has 73 catches for 1,290 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
Alexander Mattison is the leading running back on the team with 1,074 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Boise State ranks higher in the country at passing yards per game than rushing yards per game, but overall operate a pretty balanced offense.
The defense has really helped the Broncos be so successful this season, as they allow just 22.6 points per game. They rank 20th in rushing yards allowed and 44th against the pass. Freshman Curtis Weaver has been a great player for Boise State with nine sacks. Jabril Frazier also added six to help make Boise State a good pass rushing team.
Oregon Ducks (7-5)
Oregon lost Willie Taggart to Florida State and has hired former offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal to take over. He will give the Ducks some stability, which is not common for a team that has a coaching change during bowl season. They were able to go 7-5 this season, with their losses only coming to teams that qualified for bowl games.
The impressive thing about Oregon this season is that their quarterback, Justin Herbert, was injured for five games and they still managed to get bowl eligible. Herbert is very talented and could be picked very early in the NFL Draft when he is eligible. In the seven games he did play, he had 1,750 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. He did all this while completing 66.5% of his passes. He doesn’t lock in on one target, as Oregon has five receivers that have over 200 receiving yards, but not one has over 400. Charles Nelson leads the way with 392 receiving yards.
Royce Freeman is an Oregon legend for his continued success. He has 5,621 career rushing yards, including 1,475 coming this season. He was able to find the end zone 16 times during his final season for the Ducks. Oregon is the eighth best rushing attack in the country and with Herbert back at quarterback, the offense should be balanced and potent.
The Ducks sport an average scoring defense that allows 28.3 points per game. They are really good at stopping the run, ranking 26th in the country in rush defense. Linebacker Troy Dye is a leader for the Ducks who has 103 total tackles this season.
With Herbert healthy, the Ducks should be able to win the game. They have a great rushing attack that always shows up and when Herbert played this season, Oregon lost just once. Their defense has improved enough this season to slow down Boise State’s offense. Mario Cristobal will get a win in his first game as head coach of the Ducks and carry that momentum into next season.
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