Home » Blog » NCAA Bowl Preview: Allstate Sugar Bowl and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

NCAA Bowl Preview: Allstate Sugar Bowl and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

It was an action-packed New Year’s Day of NCAA bowl games with many close ones and again a poor showing by the Big Ten.

On Wednesday, it’s back to work and that means only one game, the Allstate Sugar Bowl with #21 Louisville (10-2, 5-2) vs. #3 Florida (11-1, 7-1). The Big East champ will take on Florida, who’s looking for its fifth straight BCS bowl win.

Thursday’s Tostitos Fiesta Bowl has #4 Oregon (11-1, 8-1) vs. #5 Kansas State (11-1, 8-1). This could be one of the more interesting and equally-matched  games other than the National Championship.

Louisville vs. Florida

Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater

Louisville will enter the game as the Big East champs and with a sigh of relief that coach Charlie Strong is staying put. He will be reunited with his former team, Florida, after spending time as its defensive coordinator from 2003-2009.

For the Cardinals, this year’s success was assisted by its Big East offensive player of the year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He ended the regular season with a broken wrist and cranky ankle, affecting his play against Rutgers but a month off should help.

For the season, he threw for 3,452 yards (69.0 percentage) and 25 touchdowns.

His offensive weapons include running back Jeremy Wright (740 yards and nine touchdowns) along with wide receiver DeVante Parker (712 yards and nine touchdowns).

But Bridgewater could face a tough night against Florida’s defense. First-team All-American safety Matt Elam is its face and the team is ranked No. 3 for points allowed (12.9 per game). They have also only allowed five passing touchdowns while grabbing 19 picks.

Quarterbacks also have a difficult time passing against them, completing 51.2 percent per game with 186.0 yards. Even Johnny Football struggled against this defense with 173 passing yards.

Offensively, Florida is all about its running game thanks to All-SEC running back Mike Gillislee. For the season, he has 1,104 yards with 10 touchdowns.

And while not a bright spot, Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel gets the job done, averaging 19.6 pass attempts for 133.7 yards per game. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, throwing only three picks and 11 touchdowns this season.

This match up has a lot of talent, but Florida is tough to beat in a bowl (-14, 45.5 o/u).

Oregon vs. Kansas State

Kansas State QB Collin Klein

Both teams were on course for undefeated seasons but their Nov. 17 losses derailed them.

Thursday will represent Klein’s last NCAA game and it may be Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s as well.

But for now, Klein is still the Wildcats’ offensive leader. He finished No. 3 in Heisman voting from a season with 2,490 passing yards with 15 touchdowns but he can also run, rushing for 890 yards and 22 scores.

The team’s offense averages 40.7 points–a FBS leader–but they fell off in the second half of the season and some of it came from weak production from leading running back John Hubert (892 yards, 15 touchdowns).

As for Oregon, it scored a minimum of 40 points in every game except one (Stanford) and with their 50.8 point average, they are No. 2 nationally.

This comes from a running game (No. 3 with a 323.3 yard per game average) and great play by running back Kenjon Barner. Also a Heisman contender this season, he rushed for 1,624 yards with 21 touchdowns. He could be challenged by K-State’s run defense that keeps opposing teams to 99.3 rushing yards each game.

Oregon’s green quarterback freshman Marcus Mariota had a great rookie season, only throwing six picks over 312 attempts vs. his 30 touchdown passes. He made the Pac-12’s all-conference first team–a first for a freshman quarterback since 1989’s USC Todd Marinovich.

Mariota can also run, gaining 690 yards this season with four touchdowns.

Both quarterbacks will need to protect the ball as the Ducks had a FBS-high 39 forced turnovers for the season, with Kansas State right behind at 31.

Look for a high-scoring game but the Ducks will prevail (-8,75.5 o/u).

  • 100%