College Football Gameday

College Football Gameday

College Football Gameday

The bowl season really gets going on Saturday, starting with Southern Miss and Cincinnati in the PapaJohns.com Bowl. Also on tap is the New Mexico Bowl featuring Nevada and New Mexico and the Las Vegas Bowl with BYU and UCLA.

Papa Johns.com Bowl

Southern Miss vs. Cincinnati

The Golden Eagles won their last two games of the regular season to earn an invitation to Birmingham. The Golden Eagles' offense feeds off running back Damion Fletcher, who rushed for 1431 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Southern Miss passing attack finished dead last in Conference USA behind quarterback Jeremy Young. Don't expect that passing attack to suddenly take off in the bowl game, as Cincinnati boasts the top passing defense in the Big East.

The Bearcats were a surprising 9-3 this season and finished ranked at No. 20. Quarterback Ben Mauk completed his collegiate career with a solid season that saw him pass for 2787 yards with 27 touchdowns and six interceptions. The Bearcats' running duties are split between Butler Benton and Greg Moore, who combined for over 900 yards, while Bradley Glatthaar has eight rushing touchdowns.

The Golden Eagles are on a three-game bowl winning streak after defeating Ohio in last years' GMAC Bowl. Cincinnati appeared in last year's International Bowl, in which they knocked off Western Michigan. In the PapaJohns.com Bowl the Bearcats are an 11-point favorite, while the total was set at 55.5.

New Mexico Bowl

Nevada vs. New Mexico

The Wolf Pack pounded Louisiana Tech 49-10 in their season finale to finish with a .500 record. Nevada boasts a balanced offensive attack led by quarterback Colin Kaepernick and running back Luke Lippincott. Kaepernick threw for 2038 yards with 19 touchdowns and three interceptions this season, while Lippincott rushed for 1380 yards on 257 carries with 15 touchdowns. The Wolf Pack defense is suspect heading into this game after allowing 32.9 points per game this season.

The Lobos finished third in the Mountain West, but their 8-4 record is still a nice turnaround from their 6-7 record of a year ago. On offense the Lobos are led by quarterback Donovan Porterie and running back Rodney Ferguson. Porterie threw for 2653 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season, while Ferguson had 292 carries for 1177 yards and 13 touchdowns. On defense the Lobos appear to have the edge in this game after allowing only 20.6 points per game this season.

Last year the Wolf Pack lost to Miami in the MPC Bowl, which snapped their three-bowl winning streak. The Lobos played in the New Mexico Bowl last season and lost to San Jose State. In their return to the New Mexico Bowl the Lobos are a 3-point favorite, while the total was set at 58.

Las Vegas Bowl


BYU vs. UCLA

The Cougars won the Mountain West title after posting a perfect 8-0 conference record. BYU finished the regular season on a nine-game winning streak led by quarterback Max Hall. The sophomore threw for 3617 yards with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season. The Cougars also got a solid first season from freshman Harvey Unga, who rushed for 1211 yards on 227 carries with 13 touchdowns.

The Bruins stumbled down the stretch and lost four of their last five games. The UCLA offense was maddeningly inconsistent all season, as they averaged 33.6 points in their wins and only 12.1 points in their losses. Bruins quarterback Ben Olson struggled throughout the season while throwing for 1040 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions. Patrick Cowan replaced Olson late in the year, but he suffered a knee injury in the Bruins' season finale and is doubtful for the bowl game. Olson looked to be in line for the start before also succumbing to a knee injury in practice last week. That means third-string QB Osaar Rasshan could end up with the start by default. UCLA's biggest offensive threats during the season were running backs Kahlil Bell and Chris Markey, who combined for over 1300 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Unfortunately for UCLA, Bell won't be playing in the bowl game after suffering a season-ending knee injury.

This is one of the few bowl games that is a rematch from the regular season. Back on September 8 the Bruins defeated the Cougars 27-17 as an 8-point favorite. Hall threw a pair of touchdowns and an interception for BYU in the loss, while Olson went without a touchdown pass and was intercepted once. Bell and Markey each had a touchdown run for UCLA. In the rematch BYU is a 6.5-point favorite.

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