Military Bowl: San Jose State meets Bowling Green
This afternoon at RFK Stadium in the nation’s capital, the Military Bowl will be played between the San Jose State Spartans, ranked no. 24 in the nation, and the Bowling Green Falcons. This game will feature the first top 25 ranked team to play in the Military Bowl.
San Jose State enters the game with an overall record of 10-2 on the season and is riding a six game consecutive win streak. This bowl originally was supposed to have a mid level team from the ACC take on Army or another school from the Conference USA.
Nevertheless, it gets to showcase a San Jose Spartans team that is one of the comeback stories of the season. The 10 wins this season under Mike MacIntyre was only the third time in the history of the football program at SJS that, that has been accomplished. However, MacIntyre was hired away on December 10 by the Colorado Buffaloes.
Bowling Green, 8-4 on the season, is playing in its first bowl game since 2009. The Falcons are not known for having a strong offense like the one the Spartans have, but they only allowed 15.8 points a game this season and are ranked no. 8 in the nation in points allowed.
San Jose State has one of the most prolific passers in college football in quarterback David Fales. The Spartans’ quarterback completed over 72% of this passes this season for 3,797 yards. He had 31 touchdown passes and only three 9 interceptions. Nevertheless, Fales will face a defense that allowed on average only 173 passing yards per game.
On big key in the game will be if San Jose State can contain Chris Jones the defensive tackle for Bowling Green. The ferocious lineman was named to the All-America first team as he had 12.5 sacks on the season along with five quarterback hurries, a fumble recovery in the end zone for a touchdown and two forced fumbles.
An unknown factor in the game is how much the loss of MacIntyre on the sideline will affect the performance of San Jose State. The team will be coached by Kent Baer, the defensive coordinator, who also worked as an interim coach in a bowl game in 2004 for Notre Dame, when the Irish lost the Insight Bowl 38-21. Baer will be leaving San Jose State following the game to join MacIntyre in Colorado.
The game will be characterized by two strong defenses facing one strong offense in San Jose State and one unpredictable mediocre at best offense in Bowling Green. The afternoon in Washington is expected to be frigid. If San Jose State can neutralize Jones it will still be very difficult for the quarterback to pass against the seventh ranked pass defense in the nation.
On paper, the numbers favor Bowling Green with its strong defense. However, the Falcons did not face the strength of schedule that San Jose State did and have not faced as talented a quarterback as Fales this season.
Look for a relatively low scoring game as odds makers have the total at 44. It may if be lower than that if the cold and wind arrive that are forecasted. I like the Spartans in this matchup.