MAC Bowls for Saturday, December 17, 2011
New Mexico Bowl
Wyoming vs. Temple
- Temple posted a school-record three straight seasons of at least eight victories.
- RB Bernard Pierce finished third in the FBS with a single-season school record 25 TDs and 13th with 1,381 rushing yards.
- Pierce, who could be playing in his final game before going pro, seems likely to find plenty of running room against a Cowboys defense that’s surrendering 230.1 rushing yards per game - sixth worst in the nation.
- Temple ’s defense ranks third in the nation with 13.8 points allowed per game.
- The Owls are participating in the fourth bowl game in school history.
- The Cowboys rank fourth in the country in turnover margin at 1.25 and allowed 11 sacks - tied for 11 th.
- Wyoming is headed back to the New Mexico Bowl for the second time in three seasons behind Mountain West freshman of the year Brett Smith who finished third in the conference with a 126.2 rating after throwing for 2,495 yards along with 18 TDs and eight interceptions.
- Wyoming has split its 12 previous bowl appearances, winning two in a row following six consecutive defeats.
- The Cowboys won the only meeting in this series 38-23 in 1990.
Nick’s Pick: Temple 26 – Wyoming 24
Comment: Expect a close contest where both teams want to be in this bowl and both want to win to build momentum going into 2012. Somehow you have to figure that when the game is on the line, Temple’s Bernard Pierce will be the guy to pull them through.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Ohio vs. Utah State
- Ohio ’s run defense which ranked third in the MAC, allowing 126.4 yards per game, and kept two of its last four opponents under 70.
- Ohio is appearing in a bowl for a third straight year for the first time in school history but has yet to win one; the Bobcats’ 0-5 mark in postseason play includes three defeats under Frank Solich.
- QB Tyler Tettleton threw for 3,082 yards and 26 touchdowns and is a threat on the ground after rushing for 627 yards and nine scores.
- The only meeting between these teams came in 1994, when Utah State won 5-0 at Ohio.
- Utah State
- Finished second in the WAC and is riding a five-game winning streak averages 277.5 yards rushing per game which ranks to ranks 6 th in the FBS.
- Robert Turbin is 10th in the nation with 118.0 rushing yards per game, including seven 100-yard efforts, and was named the WAC offensive player of the year.
- Utah State features the WAC’s top-ranked defense, having allowed 368.0 yards per game.
- The Aggies are 1-5 all-time in bowl games with their only win coming over Ball State in the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl.
Nick’s Pick: Utah State 23 – Ohio 14
Comment: Expect the USU defense to hold Ohio in check on “Smurf Turf.”