Plenty of Story-lines In 2018 Las Vegas Bowl
The Fresno State Bulldogs and the Arizona State Sun Devils will both
be gunning for a victory on Saturday when they meet at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Fresno State was 11-2 overall and 7-1 in the Mountain West Conference. Quarterback Marcus McMaryion is familiar with the Pac-12 after playing his first two college years at Oregon State. The Beavers didn't play Arizona State those seasons. He was a big reason the Bulldogs went from a one-win team in 2016 to a 10-win team in 2017. The Bulldogs were the only West Coast team to win a bowl game last season. McMaryion took his play to another level this season. The gunslinger completed nearly 70 percent of his passes, throwing 25 touchdowns and getting intercepted just three times. He had none in the past four games.
Arizona State was 7-5 overall and 5-4 (opens in a new tab)">Pac-12 Conference. The Sun Devils also have an experienced senior quarterback. He has fought through battles to maintain his starting job and continued to flourish. Manny Wilkins has completed 63 percent of his passes. He threw 19 touchdowns with only four interceptions. His calm demeanor under pressure has allowed Arizona State to go 4-1 this season in games decided by three points or Less. Wilkins won't have his favorite receiver, N'Keal Harry, so look for junior wide receivers Kyle Williams and Brandon Aiyuk to get extra targets. Harry, who had 73 catches for 1,088 yards and nine touchdowns this season, has decided to skip the bowl game and begin preparing for the NFL Draft.
This and That and a Shot in the Dark Prediction
Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin should receive ample opportunities to break the single-season school rushing record. Benjamin is 42 yards short of breaking the 46-year-old record. The 1,565 single season total was set by Woody Green. The Sun Devils will be without No. 1 receiver N'Keal Harry, which should allow even more carries for Benjamin.
The Sun Devils lured Herm Edwards out of the ESPN studios and onto the sidelines as their head coach in early December of last year. Many people doubted whether he was to be successful. Edwards not coached at the college level in nearly 30 years. He also hadn't coached anywhere since 2008, and that was at the NFL level. Edwards had his ups and downs this season. The roller coaster ride started with a win over then-No. 13 Michigan State in his second game. Then it bottomed out with a loss to Colorado on Oct. 6. Herm did lead Arizona State to a second-place finish in the Pac-12 South Division after they were predicted to finish last.
Fresno State should be plenty motivated in its first meeting against Arizona State since 1941. The Bulldogs earned this bowl bid with a dramatic 19-16 overtime win at Boise State on Dec. 1. The win put themselves in position to win 12 games in a season for the first time in program history. Fresno State finished the regular season ranked No. 21 in the coaches' poll. They will also be looking to win bowl games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since winning three in a row from 2002-04.
PREDICTION: Fresno State 30, Arizona State 24. I think the absence of Harry for the Sun Devils will be the difference.
Las Vegas Bowl Betting Odds & Trends
Fresno State Bulldogs
|Fresno State is 14-4 ATS in its last 18 games|
|Fresno State is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Fresno State's last 5 games|
Arizona State Sun Devils
|Arizona State is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games|
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