Utah Utes vs. Colorado State Rams
Saturday – December 20 – 2:30 pm
Sam Boyd Stadium – Las Vegas
The Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl features the first selection from the Mountain West Conference against the #6 selection from the Pac-12 Conference. This year it’s Colorado State and Utah doing battle.
Colorado State Rams
Colorado State’s head coach, Jim McElwain, was hired to be the head coach of Florida, leaving Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback Coach, Dave Baldwin, to deal with the fall out and coach the team during the bowl game. The players are reportedly happy for Coach Mac. Baldwin is not expected to change the team’s strategy.
The star players of CSU are QB Garrett Grayson, WR Rashard Higgins, and RB Dee Hart. Grayson ended the season with 3,779 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns, and six interceptions. He also has a 64.8 percent completion rate. Higgins caught 89 receptions for 1640 yards and 17 touchdowns, which happens to be more than any player in the nation. Dee Hart has rushed for 1,640 yards and 16 touchdowns, with 10 of those in the last four games. The Rams average score this season is 35.9 per game, ranked #22 in the nation.
Utah has been riddled with injuries this year, including Quarterback Kendal Thompson and Wide Receiver Dres Anderson, both being plagued by season ending knee injuries. The Utes were going back and forth between Thompson and Travis Wilson. With Thompson out, the job has naturally gone to Wilson. Wilson has had 2,012 passing yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions, and a 60.3 percent completion rate.
Other key players for Utah include Running Back Devontae Booker and Defensive End Nate Orchard. Booker has 1,350 rushing yards as well as 39 catches for 282 yards and a total of 11 touchdowns going into Saturday’s game. Orchard leads the NCAA with 1.46 sacks per game, 80 tackles and a total of 17.5 sacks. Utah’s defense had 52 sacks this season, which leads the nation.
Prediction: This game will be close. Utah’s defense will be tough to deal with, but Colorado State will have an emotional edge, and win this game for Coach Mac. Colorado State 38 – Utah 31