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SATURDAY'S BOWLS

New Orleans Bowl

Matchup: Nevada (7-5, 4-4 Mountain West) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4, 7-1 Sun Belt), 11 a.m. ET (ESPN).

Line: Louisiana-Lafayette by 1.

Series record: Nevada leads 1-0.

What's at stake: Nevada seeks its first bowl victory since the 2010 season, when Colin Kaepernick was quarterback. A bowl victory would also be the first under second-year coach Brian Polian. Louisiana-Lafayette is seeking its fourth straight New Orleans Bowl victory and fourth straight nine-victory season in what is coach Mark Hudspeth's fourth year with the Ragin' Cajuns.

Key matchup: Louisiana-Lafayette's running game, which is led by the tandem of Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire, against Nevada's defensive front. The Ragin' Cajuns are averaging 229.4 yards per game on the ground this season. Nevada has allowed more than 200 yards rushing in a game five times.

Nevada players to watch: QB Cody Fajardo runs Nevada's pistol offense, which features dual-threat quarterbacks. Fajardo passed accounted for 3,371 yards from scrimmage and 31 touchdowns this season (2,374 yards and 18 TDs passing, 997 yards and 13 TDs rushing).

Louisiana-Lafayette players to watch: RB Elijah McGuire, who has rushed for 1,165 yards and 14 TD's this season, averages 141.3 all-purpose yards per game and 7.8 yards per carry.

New Mexico Bowl

Matchup: Utah State (9-4, 6-2 Mountain West) vs. UTEP (7-5, 5-3 C-USA), 2:20 p.m. ET, (ESPN)

Line: Utah State by 10

Series record: Utah State, 2-0

What's at stake: Utah State is a win away from notching its third straight bowl victory for the first time in school history. The Aggies are 3-5 in bowl games and have made the postseason for four straight years. The Miners are seeking their first bowl game victory since 1967 and are coming off their first winning season since 2005.

Key matchup: UTEP's rushing offense versus Utah State's rushing defense. The Miners have 2,552 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns on the ground this season and have rushed for an average of 212.7 yards per game. Utah State ranks 26th in the nation in rushing defense. The Aggies also have forced 29 turnovers in their last 12 games.

Utah State players to watch: Brothers Zach and Nick Vigil, both linebackers, have combined for 181 tackles. Senior Zach Vigil is tied at 12th nationally in tackles for loss with 11.2 per game. Sophomore Nick Vigil is tied for fifth nationally in forced fumbles with .42 per game.

UTEP players to watch: Sophomore running back Aaron Jones has 1,233 yards rushing this season. He is ranked 23rd nationally in rushing yards per game, averaging 112.1. Quarterback Jameill Showers has tried to balance the run game with 1,732 yards passing and 12 touchdowns.

Las Vegas Bowl

Matchup: No. 23 Utah (8-4, 5-4 Pac-12) vs. Colorado State (10-2, 6-2 Mountain West), 3:30 p.m. EST (ABC)

Line: Utah by 3

Series record: Utah leads 55-22-2

What's at stake: Utah and Colorado State used to be Mountain West opponents, but the Utes moved to the Pac-12 in 2011 and are playing in their first bowl game after a two-year absence. The Rams are gunning for their first 11-win season since 1997 and would love nothing more than to defeat a team from one of the power conferences.

Key matchup: Utah's pass-rushing defensive front versus Colorado State's passing offense. The Utes led the country with 52 sacks, and defensive ends Nate Orchard and Hunter Dimick will have to find a way to contain Rams quarterback Garrett Grayson, who threw for more than 3,700 yards and 32 touchdowns. Together, Orchard and Dimick had 27.5 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss.

Utah players to watch: Orchard led the country with an average of 1.46 sacks per game. He'll be matched against Rams left tackle Ty Sambrailo, whom coach Dave Baldwin predicts will be a first- or second-round pick in the NFL draft. Orchard is fast and physical, and his ability to pressure Grayson will bear watching.

Colorado State players to watch: WR Rashard Higgins had seven consecutive games of 100 yards receiving, making him a potent offensive threat. His ability to get open quickly could play a major role in nullifying Utah's physical pass rush.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Matchup: Western Michigan (8-4, 6-2 Mid-American) vs. Air Force (9-3, 5-3 Mountain West), 5:45 p.m. ET (ESPN).

Line: Air Force by 1.

Series record: First meeting.

What's at stake: Western Michigan tries to finish off a remarkable turnaround season with its first bowl victory in school history. The Broncos went 1-11 in 2013, but were on the verge of playing in the MAC title game this season. P.J. Fleck, the youngest FBS coach in the country at 34, led the Broncos turnaround. Air Force also had a bounce-back season with the Falcons knocking off both Boise State and Colorado State during Mountain West play and claiming the Commander-in-Chief Trophy.

Key matchup: Air Force run game vs. Western Michigan run defense. Air Force focused on being more efficient passing this season, but ultimately the Falcons' offensive success relies on their run game. Air Force was seventh in the country averaging 272.2 yards per game on the ground. Western Michigan had one of the better run defenses in the MAC, giving up 142.7 yards per game on average. Only one of the Broncos' last seven opponents rushed for more than 150 yards.

Western Michigan players to watch: RB Jarvion Franklin. Franklin set a load of records in his first season for Western Michigan. He set the MAC record for yards rushing by a freshman with 1,525 yards. He set Western Michigan records for single-season touchdowns (25) and total points scored (150). And Franklin became the first player in MAC history to be named freshman of the year and offensive player of the year.

Air Force players to watch: QB Kale Pearson. The senior quarterback missed the season finale against Colorado State with an ankle injury suffered the previous week. Backup Nate Romine started against the Rams, but Pearson has been practicing and should get the start in his final college game. Pearson had 14 touchdown passes and six touchdowns rushing in the regular season.

Camelia Bowl

Matchup: Bowling Green (7-6) vs. South Alabama (6-6), 9:15 p.m. ET Saturday (ESPN)

Line: South Alabama by 3.

Series record: First meeting.

What's at stake: Both teams are vying to finish with a winning record. It's South Alabama's first bowl game while Bowling Green is seeking its first postseason win since 2004.

Key matchup: South Alabama's offense versus Bowling Green's defense. South Alabama is producing a modest 22.1 points and 372.8 yards per game. Bowling Green is giving up 33.9 points and 499.6 yards on average. The Jaguars have a new offensive coordinator since coach Joey Jones hired Bryant Vincent from the now-defunct UAB program to replace Robert Matthews, fired after the final regular season game.

Bowling Green players to watch: WR Roger Lewis appears poised to become the first freshman in school history to reach 1,000 yards. The All-MAC performer has 956 yards and five touchdowns on 69 catches.

South Alabama player to watch: LB Maleki Harris is a second-team All-Sun Belt Conference player who leads the league in fumbles forced (four) and recovered (three). He also has 77 tackles and six passes defended.

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