12/27/14 by Matthew S. Vandriak
With 5 games being played, December 27th could be called "Bowl Mania Saturday". Lets take a look at the matchups.
Cincinnati vs Virginia Tech 12/27/14 @1pm
Cincinnati comes in as one of three teams to share the American Athletic Conference regular season title, while it took Virginia Tech until the final Saturday of the regular season to become bowl eligible. The 9 and 3 Bearcats average 35.4 points per game, and will face a tough Hokies defense, that ranks 17th in the country giving up 20.4 points against per game. That defense will be challenged by Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel, who passed for 3,010 yards and 30 touchdowns, which were the most TD passes in the AAC. Michael Brewer led the Hokies on offense, throwing for 2,598 yards and 17 TD's. After starting the season 2 and 3, Cincinnati won their final 7 regular season games. Virginia Tech lost 4 of their final 6 regular games, to finish at 6 and 6 overall. These schools last met in 2012, with Cincinnati winning 27 to 24.
#15 Arizona State vs Duke 12/27/14 @2pm
Point could be a plenty here, as both of these 9 an 3 teams bring the offense to the Sun Bowl. Arizona State averages 37 points per game, while Duke averages 32.5. The Blue Devils defense has been pretty good as well, giving up an average of 20.6 points against per contest. Both teams also have a big time threat at wide receiver as well...Duke is led by Jamison Crowder who finished 2nd in the ACC with 78 catches. Crowder put up 942 yards receiving and scored 6 touchdowns. The Sun Devils are led by Jaelen Strong, who had 75 receptions for 1,062 yards and 10 TD's. Duke's Anthony Boone passed for 2,507 yards and 17 touchdowns, and rushed for 346 yards and scored 5 more times on the ground. Arizona State running back D.J. Foster rushed for 1,002 yards and 9 TD's. This will be the first ever meeting between these schools in football.
Miami vs South Carolina 12/27/14 @3:30pm
Two teams with high preseason expectations that ended with disappointing regular seasons will clash here as the 6 and 6 Hurricanes meet the 6 and 6 Gamecocks. Miami lost their final 3 regular season games, while South Carolina dropped 3 of their final 5 games. Both teams also posted sub .500 records in their respective conferences, with Miami going 3 and 5 in the ACC while the Gamecocks put up the same mark in the SEC. Two good quarterbacks will be on display in this one in South Carolina's Dylan Thompson and Miami's Brad Kaaya. Thompson passed for 3,280 yards and threw 24 touchdowns, while Kaaya passed for 2.962 yards and 25 TD's. The Gamecocks gave up an average of 31.2 points against per game on defense, and besides Kaaya will have to deal with Hurricanes RB Duke Johnson, who rushed for 1,520 yards and scored 10 times. South Carolina is looking for their fourth straight bowl win, while Miami is looking to win a bowl game for the first time since 2006.
Boston College vs Penn State 12/27/14 @4:30pm
The 6 and 6 Nittany Lions return to the post season for the first time in 3 years, making their first bowl appearance since before the Jerry Sandusky scandal that ravaged Penn State's football program. At 7 and 5, the Eagles had a better road record (4 and 1) than they did at home where they finished 3 and 4. Unlike some of the other bowl games, this one looks like a defensive struggle. Penn State has the 2nd best defense in college football, while the Eagles boast the 12th best defense. Boston College is led by QB Tyler Murphy, who put up over 2,600 yards in total offense (1,526 passing/1,079 rushing) and accounted for 21 touchdowns (11 passing/10 rushing). These schools meet for the first time since 2004, when the Eagles defeated the Nittany Lions 21 to 7.
#24 USC vs Nebraska 12/27/14 @8pm
Two quarterbacks coming off of great regular seasons will highlight this matchup. 8 and 4 USC is led by Cody Kessler, who passed for 3,505 yards and threw 36 touchdown passes, versus just 4 interceptions. Nebraska's Tommy Armstrong Jr. can get it done on the ground and through the air. Armstrong passed for 2,314 yards and threw 19 TD passes, and rushed for 664 yards and 5 touchdowns. Both teams have big time running backs as well. The Trojans Javorius Allen rushed for 1,337 yards and scored 9 TD's, while the Cornhuskers Ameer Abdullah ran for 1,523 yards and scored 18 times. Abdullah however has been battling a sprained MCL the last four games. Those offensive stars are a big reason this game could be a shootout, as the Trojans average 35.1 points per game, while the Cornhuskers average 37.4 points per contest. Nebraska will be coached by Barney Cotton, who replaces the fired Bo Pelini before Mike Riley takes over the program next season. This is the first meeting between these schools since 2007, when USC defeated Nebraska 49 to 31.
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