Thursday 28th December
Independence Bowl – 19:00 on ESPN
Ohio somewhat limped into post season play by finishing 1-4 after winning their first seven games, which included an opening day triumph over Penn State, being lead by the junior quarterback Tyler Tettleton the Bobcats run a solid run game which is backed up by a efficient passing game which has only turned over the ball four times all year. The Warhwaks on the other hand opened up their season by stunning then #8 Arkansas, but ended up dropping games to Arkansas State and Louisiana Lafayette in Sun Belt play and are led by all-passing, all-running Kolton Browning. Look for the Warhwaks to push the pace on offence whilst the Bobcats try to play a controlled offensive game and rely on their defence to make a play.
Players to Watch
Ohio: Beau Blankenship, RB #22. The 5'9", 202lbs Blankenship enters the game at spot on 1500 yards rushing and averaging 5.1 per carry, he even has a 269 yard game on his resume this year.
Louisiana-Monroe: Kolton Browning, QB #15. Browning has been far and away the offensive star and the reason the Warhawks upset the Razorbacks, he even leads the team in rushing with 441 yards and 7 TDs.
Rutgers vs Virginia
Russell Athletic Bowl
– 22:30 on ESPN
The Hokies have had one of their most disappointing years in a long time and only just managed to go 6-6 by squeaking past both Boston College and Virginia to end the year. Tech’s chance all fall on the shoulders of Logan Thomas and his play, at times he looks like a top level QB, but far too often he just makes horrible throws.
Rutgers have hung their hats on very strong defensive play, as they rank 5th in the nation in points allowed, but also have a big play threat on offense in 6”6’ wide receiver Brandon Coleman who can provide a spark with big catches at opportune times.
Players to Watch
Rutgers: Khaseem Greene, OLB #20. ‘Tackle Machine’ Khaseem Greene (think ‘Mean’ Joe Greene), just made that up, but in all seriousness he has 125 tackles on the year as well as 10.5 tackles for loss and 2 interceptions. He is going to be a sneaky high pick in the draft.
Virginia Tech: Logan Thomas, QB #3. Thomas has a huge arm and the ability to make any throw, he just doesn’t do it all the time, and that’s what’s hampered the Hokies offense this season. If he has a good game then Virginia Tech will likely win the game, but more often than not this season he’s been poor.
Pick: Virginia Tech
Minnesota vs Texas
Meineke Car Care Bowl
of Texas – 02:00 on ESPN
Despite losing Tommy Tubberville, the Red Raiders have a great air-raid offence to fall back on and will be looking for Seth Doege to lead as he has done all season and likely add a few more TDs to his 38 passing scores. The Golden Gophers really struggled through Big 10 play but are faced with an unfamiliar proposition in a very pass heavy offensive attack. If Minnesota adjusts to this then they should be able to put up a fight, but I’m not too sure that they will be able to pull off any kind of upset.
Players to Watch
Minnesota: Donnell Kirkwood, RB #20. About the only consistent piece of the Golden Gopher offence, had a couple of poor games to end the season but could find some lanes against a average Texas Tech defence.
Texas Tech: Seth Doege, QB #7. The fearless gunslinger that orchestrates the Red Raiders offence, he’s piled up a lot of yardage through the air, but needs to watch his turnovers.
Pick: Texas Tech