Today’s bowl capsules | NevadaAppeal.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Today’s bowl capsules

Associated Press

New Mexico Bowl

Temple (8-4) vs. Wyoming (8-4), 11:30 a.m. (ESPN).

Line: Temple by 7

Series Record: Wyoming leads 1-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

A Temple victory would give the Owls nine wins for just the fourth time in the school’s history but second in the past three seasons. Temple also is also looking for its second bowl win. Wyoming is looking to go above.500 in bowls. The Cowboys are 6-6.

KEY MATCHUP

Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith, Mountain West freshman of the year, goes against the Temple defense that was ranked third nationally in scoring defense (13.8 points per game). Smith was the top freshman in the country in total offense, averaging 261.7 yards a game. The Temple defense is led by linebacker Stephen Johnson, who led the Owls in tackles with 113.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Temple: RB Bernard Pierce – The junior rushed for 1,381 yards and a school record 25 touchdowns, which was second in the country. Paired with Matt Brown, the Owls ground attack averaged 256.7 yards per game, seventh in the country.

Wyoming: Smith – The true freshman quickly matured into a team leader, averaging 208 yards through the air per game and tossing 18 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. He completed more than 60 percent of his 385 passes.

Potato Bowl

Ohio (9-4) vs. Utah State (7-5), 2:30 p.m. (ESPN).

Line: Utah State by 1.5

Series Record: Utah State leads 1-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Ohio has another chance to win a first bowl game for the first time in school history. The Bobcats have gotten to the postseason three straight years, but have a six-game bowl losing streak. For Utah State, a victory would cap a remarkable turnaround in a season that started 2-5, and be its first postseason win since 1993.

KEY MATCHUP

Utah State’s running game against the Ohio defense. The Aggies and TB Robert Turbin have set a handful of school rushing records this season. Turbin, the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, has 1,416 yards on 229 carries, leading a ground attack that has rolled up a school record 3,330 yards and 35 touchdowns. The Bobcats have a strong front seven. The defense is led by linebacker Noah Keller, who leads the team in tackles with 105.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ohio: QB Tyler Tettleton: The sophomore became the first quarterback in school history to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season. He has also tossed 26 touchdown passes this year, and is also a serious threat to run with the ball if flushed out of the pocket.

Utah State: LB Bobby Wagner: The defensive coordinator modified the Aggies’ scheme this year specifically to get Wagner closer to the line of scrimmage and more involved in pressures and blitzes. The change paid off, as Wagner led the Aggies in tackles with 140 and notched 10.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.

New Orleans Bowl

San Diego State (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4), 6 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: San Diego State by 5

Series Record: First meeting

WHAT’S AT STAKE

San Diego State is looking for a second postseason triumph in as many seasons after defeating Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego in 2010. The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns seek their first bowl victory as a Division I FBS program. The Cajuns last bowl appearance came in the Grantland Rice Bowl 41 years go.

KEY MATCHUP

The Aztec’s pressure defense, which racked up 28 sacks this season, against dual-threat Ragin’ Cajuns quarterback Blaine Gautier, who passed for 2,488 yards and 20 TDs, and rushed for 464 yards and three TDs.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

San Diego State: RB Ronnie Hillman. The sophomore ranks third in the nation in rushing with 138 yards per game and 11th in all-purpose yardage with 156.4 yards per game. In his last two games, he has carried 61 times for 370 yards and six touchdowns.

Louisiana-Lafayette: TE Ladarius Green, whose 21 career receiving TDs leads all active tight ends nationally. This season, the 6-foot-6, 236-pound senior caught 46 passes for 485 yards and seven TDs.