BYU vs. Washington caps Friday’s bowl matchups

Posted Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Military Bowl

Marshall vs. Maryland

1:30 p.m. Friday, Navy Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Md.

TV: ESPN

Records: Marshall 9-4, 7-1 C-USA; Maryland 7-5, 3-5 ACC

Key points: Maryland started hot this year with four straight wins, but struggled through the heart of its schedule with four straight losses before winning two of its final three to become bowl eligible. The Terrapins were rewarded with a berth in the Military Bowl, which should feel like a home game. Marshall is trying to reach double-digit wins after a blowout loss, 41-24, to Rice in its season finale. The Thundering Herd’s other three losses were by a combined 13 points, including a three-overtime loss to Virginia Tech, a team Maryland beat in overtime. Marshall junior quarterback Rakeem Cato has more than 3,500 passing yards, and running back Essray Taliaffero has 1,059 rushing yards.

Texas Bowl

Syracuse vs. Minnesota

5 p.m. Friday, Reliant Stadium, Houston

Records: Syracuse 6-6, 4-4 ACC; Minnesota 8-4, 4-4 Big Ten

Key Points: Don’t expect a lot of passing and explosive offense in the Texas Bowl. Neither Syracuse nor Minnesota has a quarterback with more than 1,500 passing yards; Minnesota is 116th in passing yardage this season and Syracuse is 103rd. But both have a good running game. Syracuse is 39th in the nation with 193.8 rushing yards a game, and Minnesota is 33rd with 200.9 yards a game. Junior David Cobb leads the Golden Gophers’ attack with 1,111 rushing yards. Syracuse has five rushers with more than 300 yards this season, led by Jerome Smith’s 840 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Tarrant ties: Minnesota junior defensive lineman Michael Amaefula, out of Arlington Bowie, has played in all 12 games and recorded 16 tackles this year, one for loss, and defensive lineman Ben Perry, from Southlake Carroll, has played in nine games and has seven tackles for the Golden Gophers.

Fight Hunger Bowl

BYU vs. Washington

8:30 p.m. Friday, AT&T Park, San Francisco

Records: BYU 8-4; Washington 8-4, 5-4 Pac-12

Key points: Washington had a resurgent year and has a chance to reach nine wins for the first time since 2000 when the Huskies were 11-1 and defeated Purdue in the Rose Bowl. But Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian left to take over at USC, leaving interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo in charge before Chris Petersen, Boise State’s longtime leader, can take over for next season. BYU, on the other side, should be comfortable with playing in a big-time postseason game. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall has led the Cougars to four straight postseason wins. Washington running back Bishop Sankey (1,775 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns) and BYU quarterback Taysom Hill (2,645 passing yards, 1,211 rushing yards and 28 total touchdowns) should make this matchup fun to watch.

Tarrant ties: BYU has three area players on its roster: junior wide receiver Ross Apo and sophomore linebacker Teu Kautai from The Oakridge School, and senior offensive lineman Manaaki Vaitai out of Euless Trinity. Apo has 14 catches for 204 yards and three touchdowns, Kautai has three tackles, and Vaitai has played in 11 games. Washington freshman defensive back Trevor Walker played at Mansfield Timberview.

— Brent Shirley

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