Previewing Saturday’s college football bowl matchups

Previewing Saturday’s college football bowl matchups

BYU running back Adam Hine, right, stiff-arms Utah State safety Marwin Evans during a game on Nov. 28.

(Eli Lucero / AP)


Brigham Young (9-3) vs. No. 20 Utah (9-3, No. 22 CFP)

When: 12:30 p.m. PST (Ch. 7)

Line: Utah by 2.


Series: Utah leads, 57-34-4, according to Utah; 54-31-4 according to BYU.

Story line: The Las Vegas Bowl has plenty of juice with its matchup of rivals BYU and Utah. The story lines are abundant. This will be BYU’s final game under Coach Bronco Mendenhall after 11 seasons. He’s going for his 100th win before leaving to take over at Virginia. There’s also plenty of pride at stake in a series dubbed “The Holy War.” Utah is trying to finish off a once-promising season on the right note. The Utes started 6-0 and were ranked No. 3 in the country. Now the first 10-win season since joining the Pac-12 Conference in 2011 is the prize and a victory over the Cougars would be the icing on the cake.


New Mexico (7-5) vs. Arizona (6-6)


When: 11 a.m. PST (ESPN).

Line: Arizona by 8.

Series: Arizona, 43-20-3 .

Story line: New Mexico is in its first bowl game since 2007 and is coming off years of turmoil. The Lobos are 3-7-1 in bowl games and their return to the New Mexico Bowl has generated excitement in Albuquerque. Arizona, plagued by injuries this year, is making its 20th postseason appearance and has a bowl record of 8-10-1. The Wildcats are making a fourth consecutive bowl appearance for the first time in school history, all under Coach Rich Rodriguez.


Ohio (8-4) vs. Appalachian St. (10-2)

When: 2:30 p.m. PST (ESPN)

Line: Appalachian St. by 71/2


Series: First meeting.

Story line: A win would give Ohio its highest victory total since 2012. Three-time FCS champion Appalachian State is making its first bowl trip. A key matchup will be Appalachian State’s running game vs. Ohio’s defense. The Mountaineers are averaging 268.8 yards rushing per game, sixth nationally. Ohio is allowing 157 yards a game on the ground but a healthy 4.8 yards per carry. Marcus Cox leads the way for Appalachian State with 1,261 yards and eight touchdowns.


Georgia State (6-6) vs. San Jose State (5-7)

When: 4 p.m. PST (CBS Sports Network) .

Line: San Jose State by 1.

Series: First meeting.

Story line: Georgia State won four straight and five of its last seven to secure the program’s first bowl appearance in just its sixth year of existence. The Panthers face a San Jose State team that has dropped three of its last four games, though that stretch includes a 17-16 setback against BYU and a 37-34 overtime defeat at Nevada.



Louisiana Tech (8-4) vs. Arkansas State (9-3).

When: 6 p.m. PST (ESPN).

Line: Louisiana Tech by 2.

Series: Louisiana Tech, 25-12.

Story line: Louisiana Tech seeks a second straight bowl victory. Arkansas State aims for its third bowl win in four seasons. Arkansas State’s running game out of multiple formations, which averages 236.7 yards per game, will be challenged by Louisiana Tech’s stout interior defensive line led by NFL prospect Vernon Butler. Tech is allowing 114.8 yards rushing per game.

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