- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rice (7-5, 5-3 C-USA) vs. Fresno State (6-7, 5-3 Mountain West), 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Line: Rice by 2½.

Series Record: Fresno State leads 6-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

This might as well be called the “Turnaround Bowl.” Rice and Fresno State both lost their opening three games and still made it to a bowl. Only 19 other FBS teams (out of 496) dating to 1980 have started 0-3 and played in a bowl game that year.

KEY MATCHUP:

Rice defensive ends Brian Nordstrom and Zach Patt against Fresno State’s pass protection. Nordstrom and Patt combined for 16 sacks this season as the Owls set a school record with 35 sacks this year. The Bulldogs ranked No. 103 in the FBS for sacks allowed.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Rice: QB Driphus Jackson has 2,884 yards in total offense this year. He needs 116 yards in the Hawaii Bowl to join Chase Clement (2007 and 2008) and Tommy Kramer (1976) as the only Rice players to go over 3,000 yards for a season.

Fresno State: RB Marteze Waller rushed for 1,292 yards and 11 touchdowns this year. S Derron Smith, playing in his final game, needs three tackles to become the sixth player in school history with 300 tackles for his career.

FACTS & FIGURES

Fresno State, which lost in the Mountain West championship game, is the only bowl team with a losing record. … The teams had only one common opponent. Fresno State had a 28-0 halftime lead and won 28-21 over Hawaii, while Rice scored the final 21 points in a 28-14 win over Hawaii. … Rice is making its third straight bowl appearance, the longest streak in school history and the longest active streak in Conference-USA. … This is the fourth straight year with a trip to Hawaii for Fresno State. The Bulldogs were invited to the Hawaii Bowl in 2012 and 2014 and played Hawaii in a Mountain West game in 2011 and 2013. … According to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, Rice had a graduation success rate of 95 percent, second only to Stanford among bowl teams this year. … Fresno State has lost its last five bowl games dating to a 40-28 victory over Georgia Tech in the 2007 Humanitarian Bowl.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide