NCAA Football: Hawaii Bowl Preview and Quarterback Changes for Bowling Season

This past weekend, Boise State grabbed its third straight MAACO Las Vegas Bowl win on Saturday. It took a late field goal by the team’s diminutive kicker to seal the deal for a 28-26 victory.

In the second bowl game of the day, the New Orleans Bowl, Louisiana-Lafayette defeated East Carolina 43-34. It was their second consecutive win at this bowl and their MVP was quarterback Terrance Broadway with his 316 passing yards, 108 ground yards and two combined touchdowns.

Looking ahead, Christmas Eve has one game with the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. This matches up Fresno State (9-3, 7-1) vs. SMU (6-6, 5-3).

In other NCAA news, teams are making quarterback changes for their bowl games thanks to injured players and those they believe give them a better chance to win.

Fresno State vs. SMU

Fresno State QB Derek Carr

Playing under new coach Tim DeRuyter this season, Fresno State has had a good one and with a win on Monday, it will be the team’s sixth straight. This represents its best season for wins in 11 years and its first bowl game as a member of the Mountain West conference.

Junior quarterback Derek Carr is the Mountain West’s offensive player of the year and this comes from his 3,742 yards (68.1 percent completion), 36 touchdowns and five picks.

He oversees an offense that is ranked No. 14 in the FBS with its 488.5 yards per game; they are tied at No.12 for scoring with 40.3 points per game.

Carr’s favorite weapons include freshman wide Davante Adams with 89 receptions, 13 touchdowns and his 97.3 yards per game (No. 13 nationally). He also has senior running back Robbie Rouse with 1,468 rushing yards, 406 receiving yards and 14 combined touchdowns.

This could be a good week for Rouse as SMU ranks No. 75 against the run (171.9 ypg), but they’re in the nation’s top 20 for total defense (335.3), 35 sacks  and 33 turnovers gained.

For the Mustangs, they’ll also bring a strong offense.

Quarterback Garrett Gilbert is playing in his first SMU season after transferring from Texas. He has 2,720 yards (53.1 percent completion), 14 touchdowns and zero picks in his last five games this season. He does like to run and has seven rushing touchdowns; in the season’s last regular game, he rushed for a career-high 111 yards.

Good luck against Bulldog safety Phillip Thomas. He is the nation’s leader with eight interceptions and Mountain West’s defensive player of the year. He also was a finalist for the Thorpe Award.

He’ll want to keep his eye on the ground with tailback Zach Line who has 1,207 yards and 12 touchdowns.

SMU can produce high-scoring games but the nod will go to the Bulldogs (-12, 59.5 o/u).

Quarterback Changes 


USC QB Matt Barkley

On Saturday, USC (7-5, 5-4) senior quarterback Matt Barkley did not participate in the team’s practice and is highly questionable for the Dec. 31 Hyundai Sun Bowl vs. Georgia Tech (6-7, 5-3).

Barkley has been out for five weeks after going down with a right shoulder strain on Nov. 17.

Freshman quarterback Max Wittek grabbed most the snaps on Saturday with USC’s first team while fellow freshman Cody Kessler also saw some action.

USC coach Lane Kiffin said of Barkley via ESPN, “We’re going to look at it when we get down there and see if (Barkley) can practice. The one positive about (Barkley) not being here is (Wittek and Kessler) get more reps. It’s going to help both of them.”

For Barkley’s last college game, the bettors see a win (-9.5, 64 o/u).

Oregon State

Oregon State QB Cody Vaz

For the Dec. 29 Alamo Bowl, #15 Oregon State (9-3, 6-3) junior Cody Vaz will get the starting quarterback nod for the game against Texas (8-4, 5-4).

The decision came on Saturday as coach Mike Riley couldn’t decide between Vaz and sophomore Sean Mannion.

This came as Vaz has 1,286 yards, 11 touchdowns and one pick over six games while Mannion passed for 2,446 yards, 15 touchdowns and 13 picks over nine games this year.

The decision may be a good one for Oregon State (-2, 57 o/u).




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