Tuesday's Early Action
December 30, 2013
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AdvoCare V100 Bowl
Matchup: Boston College Eagles (7-5) vs. Arizona Wildcats (7-5)
Venue: Independence Stadium
Location: Shreveport, LA
Time/TV: 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Sportsbook.ag Opening Line: Arizona -7 ½, Total: 57
Red-hot Boston College enters Tuesday's AdvoCare V100 Bowl having won four of its past five games and faces a slumping Arizona squad that lost three of its final four.
Both teams finished the season 7-5 SU while the Eagles were 7-5 ATS and the Wildcats were 5-6-1 ATS. Boston College covered in three of its final five contests, though both of those ATS defeats came away from home, where they were 2-4 ATS. Arizona lost six of its nine conference games ATS, and was also 2-4 ATS away from home. This matchup will pit two of the nation’s most aggressive rushing offenses against one another. The Eagles feature Heisman Trophy finalist RB Andre Williams, who led an attack that averaged 218.1 rushing yards per game (20th in nation). Williams suffered a shoulder injury in the regular season finale, but he will play on Tuesday.
The Wildcats, led by RB Ka'Deem Carey, were even better with 265.8 rushing yards per game (11th in FBS), and finished with a whopping 33 rushing touchdowns. Although Boston College is 17-4 ATS (81%) after three straight games of forcing one or less turnovers since 1992, the club is 0-6 ATS in non-home games over the past two seasons after being outgained by its opponent by 125+ total yards in its previous game.
Boston College senior Andre Williams (2,102 rush yards, 6.4 YPC, 17 TD) ultimately finished fourth in the Heisman standings, putting up ridiculous numbers despite the Eagles’ mediocre season. He ran for more than 200 yards five times, all Boston College wins, including a 339-yard performance against NC State on Nov. 16. Before he was injured in a loss at Syracuse to end the season, Williams had rushed for 1,063 yards (266 YPG) and 8 TD during his team's four-game win streak. He makes life easier for senior QB Chase Rettig (1,804 pass yards, 7.6 YPA, 17 TD, 6 INT), who completed 61.6% of his passes, but topped 200 passing yards just three times all season.
Only one receiver had more than 200 yards for the Eagles, senior WR Alex Amidon (67 catches, 903 yards, 5 TD). The Boston College defense gave up 27.8 PPG (73rd in FBS), but only 154 rushing YPG on 3.9 YPC, which is important going up against this Arizona squad. The passing defense is a real weakness though, giving up 268 YPG (8.1 YPA) on a 67% completion rate. The unit has generated multiple turnovers just twice in the past 10 games.
Junior RB Ka’Deem Carey (1,716 rush yards, 5.3 YPC, 17 TD) leads the Arizona rushing attack, having run for at least 119 yards in every game he played, rushing for at least one touchdown in nine of his 11 contests. Unlike with Boston College though, Carey is not a one-man show, as senior QB B.J. Denker (898 rush yards, 5.4 YPC, 12 TD is a serious threat with his legs. As a thrower, Denker (2,241 pass yards, 6.3 YPA, 14 TD, 7 INT) isn’t too shabby either, though he had his worst performance of the season in the finale, throwing a season-high three interceptions in a 58-21 blowout loss at rival Arizona State.
He has four receivers with at least 200 receiving yards, led by freshman WR Nate Phillips (42 catches, 503 yards, 7 TD). Although he scored all seven touchdowns in his final eight games, Phillips did not gain 100 yards in any game this season. The Wildcats rush defense yields 170 YPG on 4.2 YPC, but is far stingier against the pass than the Eagles, allowing opponents to complete only 58% of their throws for 235 YPG and 6.5 YPA. Arizona also does a better job of forcing turnovers with 2+ takeaways in six of its 12 games.
Matchup: Virginia Tech Hokies (8-4) vs. UCLA Bruins (9-3)
Venue: Sun Bowl Stadium
Location: El Paso, TX
Time/TV: 2:00 p.m. ET, CBS
Sportsbook.ag Opening Line: UCLA -7, Total: 47
With a chance at winning 10 games for the first time since 2005, No. 17 UCLA will take on a Virginia Tech team that struggled with its consistency this season when the schools meet in Tuesday's Sun Bowl.
While the Hokies have one of the stingiest defenses in the nation, giving up only 17.4 PPG (8th in FBS), they lost three of their past five games (1-4 ATS) to Duke, Boston College and Maryland, ending the year with a victory against Virginia. They finished 4-6-2 ATS overall, including 2-4 ATS away from home. The Bruins played a much tougher schedule and own solid road wins at then-No. 23 Nebraska and at then-No. 23 USC. All of their losses were respectable too, falling to Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State, who all currently rank among the top-16 teams in the nation. UCLA finished 8-4 ATS, including 4-2 (SU and ATS) away from home. And over the past five seasons, favorites of 3.5 to 10 points off a double-digit road win against opponent coming off a road win are 28-6 ATS (82%).
But Virginia Tech also has a favorable trend: Any poor rushing team (100-140 YPG) versus an average rushing defense (140-190 YPG) after 7+ games, in a non-conference game between two BCS conference teams, are 44-16 ATS (73%) since 1992. Both teams have a slew of injuries, with the most notable being Hokies CBs Antone Exum (ankle, doubtful) and Kyle Fuller (groin, questionable). But UCLA might not be able to expose this depleted secondary as WRs Darren Andrews (leg) and Damien Thigpen (ankle) are both questionable to play.
Virginia Tech’s offense often failed to get things going this year, scoring only 23.4 PPG (97th in nation). QB Logan Thomas was often unreliable, completing just 57% of his passes for 2,861 yards, 16 TD and 13 INT. He added four rushing TD, though he averaged only 1.9 YPC on 159 carries. Freshman RB Trey Edmunds (675 rush yards, 4.1 YPC, 10 TD) is the leading ball carrier for Frank Beamer’s team. Through the air, Thomas has three top targets: WRs Willie Byrn, Demitri Knowles and Joshua Stanford. All three had just over 600 receiving yards, though combined for only six touchdowns. Senior WR D.J. Coles, who had only 365 receiving yards, paced the team with six receiving TD.
Where the Hokies excelled was on the defensive side of the ball, allowing a mere 270 total YPG on 4.3 yards per play. They were impressive in both facets, giving up 104 rushing YPG on 3.0 YPC. And through the air, opponents completed only 47% of their passes for 166 YPG on 6.0 YPA. Virginia Tech helped itself out by forcing a ton of turnovers, totaling 25 for the season, which included eight games with at least two takeaways.
The stingy Virginia Tech defense may make life difficult, but the Bruins averaged a hefty 36.5 PPG (24th in FBS). Sophomore QB Brett Hundley has his work cut out for him, though he showed why he’s a pro prospect this year, as he has completed 68% of his passes for 2,845 yards (8.3 YPA) with 22 TD and 9 INT. He also led the team in rushing with 150 carries for 587 yards (3.9 YPC), scoring with his legs nine times. He has a strong connection with senior WR Shaquelle Evans, who led the team in all receiving categories with 43 catches, 617 yards and eight touchdown grabs. Helping Hundley on the ground are RBs Paul Perkins and Jordon James, who have combined for 1,095 yards on 4.9 YPC and 10 touchdowns.
UCLA’s defense wasn’t bad, giving up 24.1 PPG (37th in FBS), but its stats are not nearly as intimidating as Virginia Tech’s. They give up 170 rushing YPG on 4.0 YPC, and 221 passing YPG on 6.6 YPA, with opposing quarterbacks completing 63% of their attempts. It should be noted, however, that the Bruins faced many more top offenses this year, such as Alabama, Oregon and Stanford, than the Hokies did. UCLA also helped itself out with 2+ takeaways in seven of 12 games.