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Houston (9-3) vs. San Diego State (6-6)

Every Bowl Season has a premium match up on the first day and this year is no different. Houston was one of the darlings of the Non-Power 5 Conferences this year, and despite falling short, scored huge victories over Louisville and Oklahoma. They were so good Texas came calling for Head Coach Tom Herman. San Diego State meanwhile had a very quiet 10 win season behind an extraordinary - and not as quiet - season from Donnel Pumphrey.

When Houston Has The Ball:  Losing Tom Herman shouldn’t hurt Houston too much because the Cougars promoted offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to the head coaching position. Houston has moved the ball easily against most of the teams they have played and quarterback Greg Ward Jr should have little trouble in his last game as a collegiate athlete. Be advised, however, that the Aztecs have a very good defense, and Houston will need to minimize mistakes in key situations in order to keep the pressure on. The Cougars will not be able to score at will.

When San Diego State Has The Ball: Donnel Pumphrey. Donnel Pumphrey has a chance to be the all time leading rusher in college football. I would expect a lot of carries for Donnel Pumphrey in this game. Houston has a very good rushing defense. The matchup to watch in this game will be here. If Houston can slow Pumphrey early they can score some points and possibly limit him late in the game.

 

Analysis:

Every Bowl Season has a premium match up on the first day and this year is no different. Houston was one of the darlings of the Non-Power 5 Conferences this year, and despite falling short, scored huge victories over Louisville and Oklahoma. They were so good Texas came calling for Head Coach Tom Herman. San Diego State meanwhile had a very quiet 10 win season behind an extraordinary - and not as quiet - season from Donnel Pumphrey.

When Houston Has The Ball:  Losing Tom Herman shouldn’t hurt Houston too much because the Cougars promoted offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to the head coaching position. Houston has moved the ball easily against most of the teams they have played and quarterback Greg Ward Jr should have little trouble in his last game as a collegiate athlete. Be advised, however, that the Aztecs have a very good defense, and Houston will need to minimize mistakes in key situations in order to keep the pressure on. The Cougars will not be able to score at will.

When San Diego State Has The Ball: Donnel Pumphrey. Donnel Pumphrey has a chance to be the all time leading rusher in college football. I would expect a lot of carries for Donnel Pumphrey in this game. Houston has a very good rushing defense. The matchup to watch in this game will be here. If Houston can slow Pumphrey early they can score some points and possibly limit him late in the game.

Analysis: There’s not much to say that I haven’t already covered. Both teams have very good defenses. Both teams have offensive leaders that are likely playing in their last games. Houston is a little better on third down though and has more than 1 option offensively. That should be the slightest difference

 

Prediction: Houston 38 San Diego State 31

 

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