Cactus Bowl – Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona
Friday, January 2, 2015 @ 10:15 PM EST (ESPN)
Washington Huskies (8-5, Pac-12) vs Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-6, Big 12)
Current Line: Oklahoma State -5.5, O/U: 56.5
Washington Huskies (Head Coach Chris Petersen): The Huskies entered the season with modest expectation and actually managed to do a little better than anticipated. While they lost 5 games on the year, all five came to bowl-bound teams, including #@ Oregon, #10 Arizona, #14 UCLA and #15 Arizona State. There in real shame in that. They did manage to salvage the season with a big win versus in-state rival Washington State.
The Huskies offense featured a balance attack in which both the passing and rushing games accounted for 195 YPG. Statistically, it is clear that the Huskies' season was indeed a team effort. Contributions came from a variety of players who were steady and reliable. Soph QB Cyler Miles controlled the offense with 2,129 yards passing and 16 TDs, adding another 4 TDs rushing. Jr DB Shap Thompson had a pretty good season on defense with 71 tackles and 4 TDs (1 INT return and 3 fumble returns).
The Huskies are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game. The under is 11-4 in Huskies last 15 games overall.
Oklahoma State Cowboys (Head Coach Mike Gundy): It's hard to knock a Cowboys team that lost six games, but did so against the likes of #3 Florida State, #5 Baylor, #6 TCU and #11 Kansas State. A 6-6 season might be disappointing, but considering the level of competition, the Cowboys can certainly contend they beat the teams they were expected to beat.
Given the schedule, it is not surprising that the Cowboys were out-gained (437 – 371) and out-scored by opponents (27.4 – 32.0). After the first two QBs on the depth chart encountered injuries, the Cowboys settle on Jr QB Daxx Garman to run the offense. He responded with a decent line of 2,041 yards passing and 12 TDs over 9 nine games. Nine other players on the offensive side of the ball went on to contribute at least 200 yards from scrimmage. Soph DE Emmanuel Ogbah was a star on defense, coming up with 46 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss and 11 sacks.
Oklahoma State is 12-3 over off an upset win over a conference rival as an underdog since 1992.
Major Injuries: None to Report
Preview: Handicapping this game is a nightmare. Both teams were drubbed on a consistent basis by ranked opponents, but played well against lesser opponents. The Huskies are likely to try a grind out a victory with the run and short passes. The Cowboys will counter by using a variety of players and formations to confuse the Huskies' defense. In what figure to be a low-scoring, closely contested affair, the team that avoids the big turnover figures to be on top when the final gun goes off.