Cougars, Aztecs figure to rack up scores

Las Vegas Bowl: Houston vs. San Diego State Picks 12/17/16

Houston has captured three of its past four bowl games. With a new man patrolling the sidelines, though, can the Cougars fully focus on today’s bout vs. San Diego State?

The two teams battle in the Las Vegas Bowl at 3:30 p.m. ET. Online sports book BetDSI opened Houston as a 3.5-point favorite over the Aztecs. The over/under is set at 52.

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On Nov. 27, Tom Herman officially bolted for nearby Texas. The Cougs promoted Major Applewhite from offensive coordinator to head coach last week. Nonetheless, Applewhite’s primary disciples committed several costly mistakes in the school’s regular-season finale, a 48-44 loss to Memphis. In fact, Houston’s only won four of the past seven contests.

SDSU laid an egg in Week 14, too, dropping a 63-31 decision to Colorado State. But Donnel Pumphrey & Co. roared back with a 27-24 victory over Wyoming in the Mountain West title tilt. The senior needs just 108 yards to surpass former Wisconsin star Ron Dayne as the all-time Division I rushing leader.

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Of course, Pumphrey isn’t the Aztecs’ lone threat on the ground. Rashaad Penny also ran for 995 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2016. It’ll be up to Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver to penetrate the San Diego State backfield and somewhat contain such a dynamic tandem.

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For the first time in program history, the Cougars can snag 10 triumphs in consecutive campaigns. Greg Ward’s a top-tier signal-caller, and we know all about his dazzling array of weapons. Still, Pumphrey’s not prepared to go quietly. Ride with Rocky Long’s troops.

SATURDAY NCAA PICK: HOUSTON/SAN DIEGO STATE OVER 52 POINTS

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