Boise State Faces UCLA In LA Bowl Seeking One More Mountain West Postseason Win Over Pac-12

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Published By: Sports Desk

Last Updated: December 16, 2023, 00:30 IST

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LA Bowl: UCLA (7-5) vs. Boise State (8-5), Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)

LA Bowl: UCLA (7-5) vs. Boise State (8-5), Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)

Line: UCLA by 4 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: UCLA leads 1-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

The Broncos staged a late-season turnaround by winning their final four games to claim the Mountain West for the first time since 2019, a run that was enough to see interim coach and defensive coordinator Spencer Danielson earn the top job permanently. The Bruins staggered to the finish line, losing three of their last four games but getting a rivalry victory that likely saved coach Chip Kelly from being fired.

KEY MATCHUP

Boise State RB Ashton Jeanty vs. UCLA’s defensive line. Jeanty rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown in the Mountain West title game against UNLV, and the Broncos will need more from their running offense after starting QB Taylen Green transferred to Arkansas. The Bruins were fierce at stopping the ground game, finishing third in the FBS allowing 2.33 yards per carry, but won’t have All-America and Lombardi Award-winning edge rusher Laiatu Latu (21 1/2 tackles for loss).

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Boise State: DE Ahmed Hassanein. Born in Cairo, Egypt, Hassanein emerged as one of the most disruptive players in college football with 16 1/2 tackles for loss and 12 1/2 sacks as a junior. He has at least one tackle for loss in 11 straight games, which is all the more impressive considering Hassanein started playing football competitively in 2019.

UCLA: QB Ethan Garbers is expected to start after being knocked out of the regular season finale against California with a right shoulder injury. Garbers threw for three touchdowns in the win against Southern California on Nov. 18, the Bruins’ lone victory down the stretch and the only game he started and finished in their last four contests.

FACTS & FIGURES

UCLA will be without several other key names on defense besides Latu. Defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn took the same position with the Trojans. Starting S Kamari Ramsey and CB John Humphrey have entered the transfer portal. … The Mountain West champion is playing a Pac-12 team in its bowl game for the eighth time in the past 11 seasons. It is 6-1 in such matchups, with Fresno State defeating Washington State 29-6 in the LA Bowl last season. … The Broncos are 5-2 in bowl games against Pac-12 foes. … The Bruins have not won a bowl game since the 2015 Alamo Bowl against Kansas State following the 2014 season. … Boise State is 0-2 against Power 5 opponents this season, having lost 56-19 to Pac-12 champion Washington in its season opener and 18-16 to UCF of the Big 12 one week later. … UCLA did not defeat an FBS team that finished with more than seven wins this season. … Boise State is expected to start freshman C.J. Tiller at quarterback. Tiller took snaps in a 45-10 win against Utah State on Nov. 18 but has not attempted a pass in college.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – Associated Press)

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