College Bowl Games on Sling: Houston Cougars and San Diego State Aztecs Primed for a Shootout in the Las Vegas Bowl

Dec 17, 2016 by Sling Staff

Houston (9-3) vs San Diego State (10-3)
Las Vegas Bowl
3:30pm ET Saturday on ABC

After spending several weeks ranked #6 in the nation, the Houston Cougars got a nasty wake-up call in the form of a 46-40 loss to Navy. Two weeks later, a 38-16 loss to Southern Methodist knocked out of the top 25 entirely. But a 36-10 win over then #3 Louisville got them back up to #18, only for them to lose 48-44 to Memphis, who scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes. So who are these guys really – also-rans or a legit team that deserves to be nationally ranked? Senior QB Greg Ward is a threat to beat you with his arm or on the ground, as he’s passed for 3,328 yards and 22 TDs, while rushing for 518 yards and 9 TDs. But he’s also got 9 interceptions on his resume, his yards per carry is just 3.0, and he hasn’t had a big game against a tough opponent. But he does have wide receiver Linell Bonner at his disposal, a man with 93 catches – sixth in the country – for 1,076 yards. The Cougars have lost both shootouts they’ve been involved in, but held Heisman winner Lamar Jackson to his worst day of the season (20-of-43 for 211 and 1 TD, 33 yards on 25 carries) – honestly, it’s impossible to know what to expect from these guys, as they can play with the best, and lose to the likes of SMU. And that uncertainty will be heightened by the departure of head coach Tom Herman, who announced the day after the loss to Memphis that he was taking the top job at Texas. Herman has since been replaced by former offensive coordinator Major Applewhite. Good luck, buddy.

The San Diego State Aztecs were humming along at 9-1 and had climbed their way to #24 in the land, before suffering back-to-back losses to Wyoming and Colorado State. The first was a heartbreaker, as the Aztecs blew a 7-point 4th-quarter lead, but managed a Flutie-esque Hail Mary touchdown pass with the clock winding down to zero to pull within a point at 34-33, only to have QB Christian Chapman’s 2-point conversion pass attempt batted away. The second was a 63-31 humiliation, as Colorado State completed 11 of 16 for 216 yards and 5 TDs, while also rushing 46 times for 291 yards and 3 more scores. As with the Cougars, it’s tough to get a bead on just how good these guys are, but one gets the sense that if you’re looking for some action on this one, take the over.

North Carolina Central (9-2) vs Grambling (10-1)
Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl
Noon ET on ABC

New Mexico (8-4) vs Texas San Antonio (6-6)
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
2pm ET on ESPN

Houston (9-3) vs San Diego State (10-3)
Las Vegas Bowl
3:30pm ET on ABC

Appalachian State (9-3) vs Toledo (9-3)
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
5:30pm ET on ESPN

Southern Mississippi (6-6) vs Louisiana Lafayette (6-6)
R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
9pm ET on ESPN

Watch college football bowl games Saturday on ESPN by subscrbing to Sling Orange, and on ABC by subscribing to Sling Orange + Broadcast Extra

All stats courtesy ESPN and CFB.

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