BRIGHAM YOUNG (9-3)
VS. TULSA (8-4)
TIME: Noon (ESPN)
LINE: BYU by 1
SERIES RECORD: BYU leads 6-1
WHAT’S AT STAKE: Likely another high-scoring game between the Cougars and Golden Hurricane. The two teams have combined to average 73 total points in their seven meetings. Tulsa’s only win came in the last one, 55-47 at home Sept. 15, 2007. BYU has averaged 44 points over its past five games this season, and the Golden Hurricane averaged 41 points in their seven C-USA victories.
KEY MATCHUP: Tulsa QB G.J. Kinne vs. BYU defense. Kinne has 78 career TD passes, five short of the Tulsa record, and 9,258 yards passing. He has 2,876 yards and 25 TDs this season. BYU has allowed only eight passing TDs, third nationally behind only LSU and Alabama.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: BYU–WRs Cody Hoffman and Ross Apo. Hoffman, a sophomore, leads the Cougars with 53 catches for 821 yards while freshman Apo, a freshman, has a team-high nine touchdown catches, with two in each of the past two games. Tulsa–RBs Ja’Terian Douglas and Trey Watts. The sophomore duo combined for 1,727 yards and seven touchdowns. Douglas has 884 yards and Watts 843 yards.
IOWA STATE (6-6)
VS. RUTGERS (8-4)
TIME: 3:20 p.m. (ESPN)
LINE: Rutgers by 2
SERIES RECORD: First meeting
WHAT’S AT STAKE: The Cyclones try to finish with a winning record, and the fourth bowl victory in program history. The first three have all come since 2000. Rutgers is trying to reach nine victories for the third time since coach Greg Schiano took over in 2001 and win its fifth consecutive bowl.
KEY MATCHUP: Rutgers defensive front seven vs. Iowa State’s offensive line. Scarlet Knights are quick and relatively light up front. Tackles Justin Francis and Scott Vallone are their biggest linemen at 275 pounds each. Anchored by All-Big 12 LT Kelechi Osemele, who is 6-foot-6 and 347 pounds, the Cyclones’ line is one of the biggest Rutgers has faced this season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Iowa State–QB Jared Barnett. The redshirt freshman took over as the starter midway through the season. He ran for 435 yards and passed for 1,178, and led the Cyclones on a three-game winning streak. Rutgers–QBs Chas Dodds and Gary Nova. The job has been shuffled between the junior Dodds and the freshman Nova. Despite inconsistent play from the quarterbacks, WR Mohamed Sanu set a Big East record with 109 catches.
MUSIC CITY BOWL
MISSISSIPPI STATE (6-6) VS.
WAKE FOREST (6-6)
TIME: 6:40 p.m. (ESPN)
LINE: Mississippi State by 6½
SERIES RECORD: First meeting
WHAT’S AT STAKE: Mississippi State’s losses came to teams ranked either when the Bulldogs played them or currently, including four in the final BCS Top 10. The Demon Deacons rallied from a 3-9 season in 2010, and previously won two consecutive bowl games and five of their past six bowls.
KEY MATCHUP: Wake Forest WR Chris Givens on Mississippi State CB Johnthan Banks. Givens set a school record with 1,276 yards receiving and has received a grade of either a second- or third-round pick already from the NFL. Banks isn’t sharing what he’s hearing from the NFL, but the junior intercepted five passes this season and broke up nine other passes.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Wake Forest– QB Tanner Price. The sophomore is only the second quarterback in school history to throw for more than 2,800 yards (2,803) with 20 touchdowns. He has thrown 127 consecutive passes without an interception. Mississippi State–DL Fletcher Cox. The 6-4, 295-pound junior also has asked for a rating of his NFL Draft prospects. He was All-SEC by The AP with four sacks, 12½ tackles for loss and three quarterback hurries this season.
VS. IOWA (7-5)
TIME: 10 p.m. (ESPN)
LINE: Oklahoma by 14
SERIES RECORD: Oklahoma 1-0
WHAT’S AT STAKE: The Sooners are hoping to end a disappointing season. Ranked No. 1 in the preseason, Oklahoma had its national title hopes dashed after it lost two of its final three games. Iowa is back at the Insight Bowl, hoping to knock off a Big 12 school for the second consecutive season.
KEY MATCHUP: Iowa QB James Vandenberg vs. Oklahoma’s pass rush. The Sooners were one of the nation’s best pass-rushing teams during the regular season, ranking second in the Big 12 with 37 sacks. Vandenberg won’t have leading rusher Marcus Coker to keep Oklahoma honest, so he’ll have to make quick, smart decisions.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Oklahoma–QB Landry Jones. This could be the last game for the junior, who could leave for the NFL. Oklahoma’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns has 4,302 yards and 28 TDs with 14 interceptions. Iowa–WR Marvin McNutt Jr. Without Coker, who was suspended for violating the university’s student-athlete code of conduct, the load likely will shift even more to McNutt, who caught 78 passes for 1,269 yards and 12 touchdowns.
– Associated Press