Sunday's bowl slate brings a battle between the offense of Houston and the defense of Fresno State. Here's what to expect in the Hawaii Bowl.
All month long in the Daily Bowl Digest, we’ll be setting the table for each day of bowl action, with game-by-game previews and a quick look back at the previous day’s action.
What happened last night: Saturday brought a trio of bowl games, starting with USF's exciting 38–34 win over Texas Tech in the Birmingham Bowl. Quinton Flower capped his college career by throwing the game-winning touchdown with 16 seconds left, the final of a five-score day by the QB. Next up was the Armed Forces Bowl, which also ended in thrilling fashion after Army scored with 18 seconds remaining, pulling it within one of San Diego State. But rather then play for overtime, the Black Knights went for two and converted on a jet sweep for the lead. The defense would hold, giving Army the win and spoiling a huge four-touchdown performance by standout Aztecs running back Rashaad Penny.
In Saturday's nightcap, Appalachian State shut out Toledo 34–0 in the Dollar General Bowl. Jalin Moore ran for three touchdowns and 125 of the Mountaineers' 327 yards on the ground. Rockets senior QB Logan Woodside had a three-interception game for the first time in his career.
Sunday brings just one bowl game before the one-day break for Christmas. Here's your guide to the Hawaii Bowl:
Hawaii Bowl (Fresno State vs. Houston, 8:30 P.M. ET, ESPN)
Why you should watch: Fresno State comes into the game at 9–4 after losing the Mountain West Championship Game, a rematch against a Boise State squad it had defeated just one week prior. Houston is 7–4 and has won three of its last four games to get to this point.
Of the Cougars' 11 games, six have been decided by one possession, so expect them to find a way to keep the contest close. The Bulldogs have only been in three one-possession games and have relied on a strong defense that is only giving 17.2 points per game, the ninth-best mark in the country.
Although the Fresno State offense and Houston defense are solid, this game will likely come down to the Fresno State defense against the Houston offense. While one unit has scored at least 17 points each game this year, the other has allowed 10 or less five times.
Most interesting player on the field: Fresno State defensive end Tobenna Okeke. The senior pass rusher has been a consistent presence for a group that has dominated opponents from the start of this season. Okeke's five sacks are tied for the best mark on the team and his nine tackles for a loss are the second best on the team. The main reason to watch Okeke though is because of what he did the last time he was in Hawaii. On Nov. 11, he had three sacks and two forced fumbles in a 31–21 win. Look to see if he can replicate that performance back in that same stadium.