Saturday’s college football bowl previews
Marshall (9-3) vs. Connecticut (6-6)
Kickoff: 11 a.m., Tropicana Field,
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Line: Marshall by 5.
Series record: First meeting
Key matchup: Marshall freshman QB Chase Litton, who’s thrown for 2,387 yards and 22 touchdowns, against a physical UConn defense that statistically is one of the toughest the Thundering Herd have faced. The Huskies rank 17th nationally in scoring defense (19.8) and 33rd in yards allowed (352.2). In addition, CB Jamal Summers led the American Athletic Conference with seven interceptions, and UConn’s 17 picks overall is tied for 10th nationally.
Miami (8-4) vs. Washington State (8-4)
Kickoff: 2 p.m. Sun Bowl Stadium,
El Paso, Texas
Line: Washington State by 2
Series record: First meeting
Key matchup: Washington State QB Luke Falk vs. the Miami secondary. Falk leads the No. 1 passing offense in the nation, averaging 397 yards. Washington State also has the No. 1 overall offense in the nation at 476.9 yards per game. Miami is No. 64 in pass defense, allowing 223.8 yards per game, and cornerback Artie Burns leads the ACC with six interceptions. But the Hurricanes will be without safety Jamal Carter, who will not play because of a violation of team rules.
Heart of Dallas
Washington (6-6) vs. Southern Miss (9-4)
Kickoff: 2:20 p.m., Cotton Bowl, Dallas
Line: Washington by 9.
Series record: First meeting.
Key matchup: Washington’s stingy defense against Southern Miss’ offense with a 4,000-yard passer and two 1,000-yard rushers. The Huskies allowed only 17 combined points their last two games and scored three defensive touchdowns. Jalen Richard and Ito Smith are only the second set of Southern Miss teammates to rush for 1,000 yards in the same season — the last were running back Sammy Winder and quarterback Reggie Collier in 1981. The Huskies led the Pac-12 in total defense (350 yards per game) and scoring defense (17.8 points per game).
Indiana (6-6) vs. Duke (7-5)
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m., Yankee Stadium, New York
Line: Indiana by 2
Series record: Indiana leads 2-1
Key matchup: Indiana’s wide receivers against Duke’s secondary. Indiana’s prolific offense will try to capitalize on the absence of ACC defensive player of the year Jeremy Cash, who underwent wrist surgery Dec. 16.
Players to watch: Indiana — QB Nate Sudfeld leads the Big Ten in seven offensive categories, including passing yards per game (289.5). He is the school’s all-time leader with 58 passing touchdowns and 7,490 passing yards. Duke — QB Thomas Sirk has thrown for 2,462 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 648.
Virginia Tech (6-6) vs. Tulsa (6-6)
Kickoff: 5:45 p.m., Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La.
Line: Virginia Tech by 14
Series record: Tulsa leads 3-1
Key matchup: Tulsa enters with the nation’s 11th-ranked passing offense led by quarterback Dane Evans. Virginia Tech boasts the No. 9-rated passing defense in the country.
Nebraska (5-7) vs. UCLA (8-4)
Kickoff: 9:15 p.m., Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
Line: UCLA by 61/2
Series record: Tied 6-6.
Key matchup: UCLA RB Paul Perkins vs. Nebraska run defense. Perkins ran for 1,275 yards and ranks third in school history with 3,423 in his career. The Huskers allowed just 113.4 yards rushing per game, eighth best in the nation.
Players to watch: Nebraska — QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. became the third Huskers quarterback to pass for at least 2,000 yards in two separate seasons and needs 144 to join Zac Taylor and Joe Ganz as the only 3,000-yard passers in school history. UCLA — Freshman QB Josh Rosen’s 3,349 yards passing and 266 completions rank third in school history.