The Mississippi State Bulldogs provided some dramatics with a late game blocked field goal on a 27 yard attempt by the Miami of Ohio kicker to preserve a 17-16 victory over the RedHawks in the St. Petersburg Bowl. State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald looks like another Dak Prescott as he ran for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns, while completing 13 of 26 passes for 136 yards with quite a few drops by his receiving corps. Dan Mullen and State look very stout at quarterback for the next two years with the sophomore Fitzgerald in Starkville, if he can stay healthy. He'll take a lot of shots the way he runs the ball with reckless abandon. He did yesterday. But solid win for State.
Boston College outlasted Maryland 36-30 in the Quick Lane Bowl and the Vanderbilt Commodores had a painful afternoon in a 41-17 loss to a talented North Carolina State Wolfpack team with an NFL defensive front and a superb junior playmaker at tight end-wide receiver Jaylen Samuels who caught 6 passes for 104 yards and 3 TDs. It was domination by the Wolfpack. Tough day for Derek Mason and the Dores. But they have a young team, so they should get it back together and have a shot at a pretty good 2017 season.
Bowl record: 9-4
Overall: 212-97, 69%
Heart of Dallas Bowl
Army (7-5) vs. North Texas (5-7)
Cotton Bowl, Dallas, (92,100)
11 AM CT/Noon ET
Allen Bestick, Mike Bellotti, Kris Budden
Refs: SEC, Hubert Owens
Army is second in the country in rushing offense averaging 327.8 yards on the ground. Fullback Andy Davidson, a 6'2", 230 pound sophomore, has rushed for 905 yards and 11 TDs. Army snapped a 14 game losing streak to Navy by defeating the Midshipmen, 21-17, at Baltimore on December 10th. You could see the relief and elation in the Cadets' eyes when they pulled off the upset and got the losing streak off their backs. Like the Cadets to get it done in Dallas over a North Texas Mean Green team that beat them earlier in the season, 35-18, and had an impressive Academic Progress Report score to qualify for a bowl as a 5-7 team. Running back Jeffery Wilson, who rushed for 855 yards and 13 TDs for the Mean Green this season, needs to have a big game. Army was fourth in the country in total defense allowing 281.6 yards per game, so North Texas will have to really buckle down on the offensive front to move the chains and get TDs.
Army 31, North Texas 24
Temple (10-3) vs. Wake Forest (6-6)
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD. (34,000)
2:30 PM CT/3:30 PM ET
Jason Benetti, Kelly Stouffer, Paul Carcaterra
Whistles: Sun Belt, Kevin Stine
Temple is third in the country in total defense, and running backs Jahad Thomas, who has rushed for 918 yards and 13 TDs, and Ryquell Armstead, who also rushed for 918 yards and 14 TDs, along with quarterback Phillip Walker, who has thrown for 2,899 yards and 20 TDs, will have their way with Wake Forest. Temple lost their head coach, Matt Rhule, who left to take the job at Baylor. Geoff Collins will take over as head coach of the Owls for the 2017 season. Collins comes from Florida, where he was the defensive coordinator. Tight ends Coach Ed Foley will guide the Owls in this game.
Temple 34, Wake Forest 17
Minnesota (8-4) vs. Washington State (8-4)
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego (70,561)
6 PM CT/7 PM ET
Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard, Allison Williams
Vogue Cleaning Laundry: ACC, Gary Patterson
Like Mike Leach and the Air Raid Attack to dominate this game against a Golden Gophers team that almost boycotted this bowl because 10 players were suspended from the team for assault charges on a woman. Pretty dysfunctional group.
Washington State 49, Minnesota 28
Boise State (10-2) vs. Baylor (6-6)
Chase Field, Phoenix (48,519)
9:15 PM CT/10:15 PM ET (have the coffee brewin)
Rece, Joey, Dave, Molly McGrath
Refs: American, Michael Roche
Boise State running back Jeremy Nichols, who rushed for 1,663 yards, which was fifth nationally, and 23 touchdowns, and also caught 32 passes for 450 yards and four more 7's, leads a balances Broncos attack that will be tested by a Baylor team that has gotten revitalized with new coach Matt Rhule coming over from Temple. Like it to be close, but for Boise to hang on in Phoenix.
Boise State 38, Baylor 35