Bowling over: Warm weather highlights competitive slate

12/21/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak

College bowl season continues with 3 more games to start the week. Miami Beach, Boca Raton, and Boise will be the "tropical" destinations for the games. Well 2 out of 3 destinations ain't bad I guess? Let's take a look at the games.
#25 Western Kentucky vs South Florida Miami Beach Bowl 12/21/15 at 2:30pm
Two hot teams will meet in this matchup of Conference USA versus the American Athletic Conference as 11 and 2 Western Kentucky battles 8 and 4 South Florida. The Hilltoppers won 10 of their final 11 games, while the Bulls come in having won 7 of their final 8. This game also pits former Western Kentucky quarterback and head coach Willie Taggert against his alma mater, where he coached from 2010 through 2012. Both teams can put points on the board, as Western Kentucky ranks 4th in college football in scoring averaging 44.2 points per game. The Hilltoppers also average 365.4 yards per game passing, which is 3rd most in the nation. South Florida averages 33.5 points per game and features a rushing attack that averages nearly 243 yards per game on the ground. Western Kentucky's passing attack is led by the MVP of Conference USA, QB Brandon Doughty. Doughty led the NCAA with 45 touchdown passes to go with 4,594 yards passing. His top target has been WR Taywon Taylor, who has 79 catches for 1,363 yards and 17 TD's. The Bulls rushing attack is led by RB Marlon Mack, who's rushed for 1,273 yards and 8 scores. QB Quinton Flowers is a dual threat who's rushed for 883 yards and 10 TD's, while throwing for 2,023 yards and 21 touchdown passes. South Florida has won 4 of the 6 all time meetings between these schools.

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Akron vs Utah State Idaho Potato Bowl 12/22/15 at 3:30pm
It's the MAC against the Mountain West as 7 and 5 Akron takes on 6 and 6 Utah State. While offense has been the headline of some of the other bowl games, both of these teams are highlighted by their defenses. The Zips rank 3rd best in the nation allowing just 89.8 yards rushing per game. The Aggies ranked 14th in college football in pass defense, allowing 180.4 yards against per game. Akron quarterback Thomas Woodson provides the Zips with a dual threat as he passed for 2,034 yards and 16 TD's while rushing for 553 yards and 3 scores. The Zips are playing in their first bowl game since 2005 and are looking for the first bowl win in school history. This is Utah State's 3rd appearance in this bowl game in the past 5 seasons, and the Aggies will be looking for their 4th consecutive bowl win. This will also be the first meeting ever between these two schools on the gridiron.
#24 Temple vs Toledo Boca Raton Bowl 12/22/15 at 7pm
The 10 and 3 Owls represent the American Athletic Conference and will be facing a team from their former conference, the MAC, when they take on the 9 and 2 Rockets. Toledo will have a new head coach for this game, as Jason Candle takes over for Matt Campbell who's moving on to coach Iowa State. Both teams are strong on the ground and have solid quarterback play as well. Toledo's ground game is led by the combo of Kareem Hunt and Terry Swanson, who have rushed for 1,764 yards and 17 combined scores. Through the air the Rockets are led by quarterback Phillip Ely, who's passed for 2,680 yards and 21 touchdowns. For Temple, quarterback P.J. Walker has thrown for 2,737 yards and 19 TD's. The ground attack is paced by Jahad Thomas, who's 1,257 yards and 17 scores. Toledo is in a bowl game for the 5th time in the past 6 seasons, while Temple is back in the post season for the first time since 2011. Temple is also looking to finish ranked in the Top 25 for the first time since 1979. The Rockets have won 7 of the 10 all time meetings between these schools.

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