12/24/2013 01:43 AM
Side plays 3-2 .600 +.5 gyro
Totals plays: 2-3 .400 -1.3 gyros
overall 5-5 .500 -.8 gyros
Oregon St vs. Boise St
It may be the only game going on when it comes to Christmas Eve. However it takes place from a destination where everyone looks to escape year round. This evening in the Aloha state, Oregon St (6-6) from the Pac-12 will take on Boise St (8-4) out of the Mountain West in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
Head coach Bryan Harsin however will not be coaching the Broncos despite hired for the now departed Chris Petersen who has since left for Washington University. As Harsin prepares for 2014, assistant Bob Gregory will be on the sidelines for tonight's matchup. Seems like Gregory wasted no time in making a roster move that could have an immediate impact on how the Broncos perform offensively. Starting QB Joe Southwick (151/208 1654 12 TD 5 INT) has been dismissed from the team after being accused of urinating off a balcony in Hawaii. Grant Hedrick (135/198 1443 15 TD 5 INT) is expected to get the start in the bowl but the offense should produce relatively effectively given the similarities in both QB styles. Boise has a nice balance in the receiving core led by Matt Miller (77-934 11 TD) who caught 9 passes for 121 yards and 3 scores in the Broncos 45-17 season finale win over New Mexico. However, Shane Williams Rhodes (77-702 6 TD) sat out that game due to an ankle injury and underwent minor surgery leaving his status unknown for Tuesday. If Rhodes can't go, Geraldo Bolewijn (37-510 2 TD) will become the #2 slot in the receiving game. Fortunately for Hedrick, Jay Ajayi (226-1328 5.9 17 TD) will take some of the pressure off the passing game. Ajayi carried for 147 yards on just 22 carries (6.7) and a score back on 11/30, his 6th such type game with at least 100 rushing yards.
Consistency has been a season long issue for Oregon St who has lost their last 5 games by an average of 16 points after winning 6 of their first 7. Sean Mannion (376-570 4403 36 TD 14 INT) and the Beavers offense put up a valiant effort against their interstate rivals only to fall by a point. Mannion threw for 314 yards and 2 scores against the Oregon Ducks and will be looking to end the 2013 campaign on a high note. Brandin Cooks (120-1670 15 TD) is deemed one of the fastest and most dangerous receivers in the nation but the passing offense must also get Richard Mullaney (49-736 3 TD) more involved as he has caught just 6 passes for 77 yards over his last 3 games. The ground game is one of Oregon State's weaknesses since they seldom utilize it in effective drives. However Terron Ward (104-467 4.5 4 TD) had his best game of the season gaining 145 yards on just 17 carries (8.5) despite being kept out of the end zone since late September against Colorado.
Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence will be charged with applying a pass rush to Mannion. The Broncos’ top defender has been a terror off the edge this season, with 19.5 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. Up front, Lawrence is joined by 300-pound fifth-year senior defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, who will command attention as a monster in the middle. In the Boise State secondary, cornerback Donte Deayon and safety Jeremy Ioane, a pair of All-MWC selections, will have their hands full stopping the Beavers’ aerial attack. Only a sophomore, the 5’9” Deayon will be put to the test by the nation’s best in the 5’10” Cooks.
Oregon State’s defense is one of the worst statistical units playing in a bowl this season. The Beavers rank 94th in total defense, allowing 482.2 yards per game; 95th in scoring defense, allowing 32.1 points per game; and 120th in red zone defense, allowing opponents to score an eye-popping 93.2 percent of the time the ball is inside the 20-yard-line. And it wasn’t just Pac-12 powers like Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State that lit up the Beavers defense. FCS power Eastern Washington scored 49 points in an upset win and Utah scored 48 points in an overtime nail-biter. Both teams are happy to be in Hawaii, for the weather as much as the football. With two high-octane offenses, the defense in this year’s Hawaii Bowl could be reminiscent of the NFL’s Pro Bowl in Honolulu. Expect plenty of scoring, lots of hula dancing and plenty of people getting lei’d on Christmas Eve.
The pick: Boise St +3.5 (bought half, 2 gyros)
Totals lean: over 65
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