Strong rushing attacks highlight day’s bowl games

Posted Monday, Dec. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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AdvoCare V100 Bowl

Arizona vs. Boston College

11:30 a.m. Tuesday

Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La.

TV: ESPN

Records: Arizona 7-5, 4-5 Pac-12;

Boston College 7-5, 4-4 ACC

Key points: If you want to watch talented running backs with NFL futures, tune in for this game. Boston College senior Andre Williams led the nation in carries (329) and rushing yards (2,102) to go with 17 touchdowns and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Arizona junior Ka’Deem Carey has rushed 322 times for 1,716 yards and 17 touchdowns. Boston College’s defense is giving up 152 rushing yards a game; Arizona is surrendering 169.8 on the ground a game. Expect both of those numbers to be tested by two strong rushing attacks. The Eagles are hoping to claim their first bowl win since beating Michigan State in the 2007 Champs Sports Bowl. Arizona edged Nevada 49-48 in last year’s New Mexico Bowl.

Hyundai Sun Bowl

Virginia Tech vs. No. 17 UCLA

1 p.m. Tuesday, Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso

TV: KTVT/Ch. 11

Records: Virginia Tech 8-4, 5-3 ACC;

UCLA 9-3, 6-3 Pac-12

Key points: UCLA coach Jim Mora has led a resurgence in his first two seasons with the Bruins. UCLA hadn’t won more than seven games since 2005 before Mora took over. Now, the Bruins have won nine in two straight seasons. But for a second year in a row, UCLA has a chance to reach double-digit wins. Last year, the Bruins couldn’t get past Baylor in the Holiday Bowl. With dual-threat quarterback Brett Hundley leading the way, UCLA will try to get past a tough Virginia Tech defense. The Hokies are scoring 23.4 points a game, 97th in the nation, but Virginia Tech is giving up just 17.4 points a game, fourth best in the country. Senior linebacker Jack Tyler leads the Hokies with 93 total tackles, 31 solo and 10.5 for loss. He has four sacks and a forced fumble.

Tarrant ties: UCLA offensive lineman Simon Goines, who started all 13 Bruins games last season as a freshman, played at Keller Central. He missed four games this season with a knee injury then suffered a broken right leg in November.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Rice vs. Mississippi State

3 p.m. Tuesday

Liberty Bowl Stadium, Memphis

TV: ESPN

Records: Rice 10-3, 7-1 C-USA;

Mississippi State 6-6, 3-5 SEC

Key points: Rice should be riding high after a dominant, 41-24 C-USA championship game win against Marshall. The Owls won nine of their final 10 games after losing to Texas A&M and Houston early in the season. Rice is averaging 240.2 rushing yards a game (15th in the nation), and senior Charles Ross leads the team with 1,252 rushing yards on 201 carries and 14 touchdowns. Mississippi State had to sneak into the bowl season with close wins in its final two games. The Bulldogs had lost three straight — to South Carolina, Texas A&M and Alabama — before rebounding with overtime wins against Arkansas and Ole Miss. Sophomore dual threat quarterback Dak Prescott has 1,657 passing yards, leads the team in rushing with 751 yards, and has 18 total touchdowns. Mississippi State used a two-QB system, but Tyler Wilson is out for the bowl game after needing shoulder surgery. Tuesday will be all Prescott, as the Bulldogs try to keep Rice from its first 11-win season in program history.

Tarrant ties: Rice senior kicker Chris Boswell played for Keller Fossil Ridge. He is the second player in Rice history to top 300 career points. His 358 points are three shy of becoming Rice’s all-team leading scorer. Boswell, who will participate in this year’s Senior Bowl, has 13 career field goals of 50 yards or more. Rice redshirt junior receiver Christian Fletcher, redshirt freshman offensive lineman Spencer Stanley and redshirt senior linebacker Michael Kutzler all played for Trinity Valley. Kutzler, a former walk-on player, leads Rice with 85 tackles. Redshirt senior Nate Richards, from Keller High, is the Owls’ starting center, and redshirt freshman linebacker Chandler Watkins also played at Keller High. Sophomore cornerback Ryan Pollard played for Arlington Martin.

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