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It’s a clash between ranked foes when the Big 12 battles the Pac-12 in the Lone Star State in a bowl contest. The #24 Iowa State Cyclones do battle with the #13 Washington State Cougars in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Friday, December 28. Iowa State started the year 1-3 but won seven of their final eight games, including the last two. The Cyclones closed the season with a 27-24 win over FCS program Drake. Washington State had a chance to play in the Pac-12 title game but lost the Apple Cup to #16 Washington 28-15 at home in their regular-season finale. This marks the first time that the two schools have ever met on the gridiron.
Iowa State Cyclones Try to Finish Season Strong
Iowa State started the year 1-3 but won seven of their final eight games to finish the season 8-4. The Cyclones had a tougher than anticipated time with FCS program Drake in their finale. Iowa State trailed 7-0 early and was down 24-20 late in the third quarter before taking the lead in the final minute of the stanza. Both teams were scoreless in the fourth, allowing the Cyclones to survive. Iowa State was outgained 279-273 in the game, despite a 17-14 edge in first downs and a slight 30:26 to 29:34 advantage in time of possession. The Cyclones did commit a pair of turnovers while recording just one takeaway on the day.
— Cyclones.tv (@CyclonesTV) November 29, 2018
The Cyclones average 234.8 yards per contest through the air this season while collecting 124.4 yards a game on the ground. Iowa State is 81st in the FBS in scoring offense with 26.8 points per game while the team ranks 36th in scoring defense by allowing 22.5 points a game. Brock Purdy has hit 128 of 193 passes for 1,935 yards with 16 touchdowns against five interceptions while adding 262 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Zeb Noland is 70 of 110 for 722 yards with four touchdowns against one pick while Kyle Kempt is 21 of 31 for 160 yards and an interception. David Montgomery is the team’s leading ground gainer with 231 carries for 1,092 yards plus 12 scores: Kene Nwangwu is next in line with 38 carries for 143 yards on the season. Hakeem Butler has hauled in a team-leading 51 passes for 1,126 yards and nine scores on the season. Deshaunte Jones (42 catches, 360 yards, four TD), Tarique Milton (34 grabs, 417 yards, TD) and Matthew Eaton (26 receptions, 293 yards, two TD) are other reliable options. Connor Assalley is 34 of 36 on extra points and 14 of 20 on field goals with a long of 47.
“We’re as healthy as we’ve been,” Coach Matt Campbell said. “That time off that we took for us was really, really important. I really feel like we’ll be 100 percent going into this bowl game.”
Washington State Cougars Hope to Bounce Back From Apple Cup Defeat
Washington State had won seven straight and had a shot at going to the Pac-12 title game but came up short in a snowstorm in the Apple Cup against archrival Washington. The Cougars now try to regroup and get back in the win column to finish the season with 11 wins. Washington State was down 14-0 in the final minute of the first half before getting on the board. That deficit was too much to overcome as the Cougars got no closer than 20-15 in the third quarter. Washington State was shut down offensively as they were outgained 487-237 while losing the first down battle (20-15) and the time of possession by a 32:50 to 27:10 margin. Both teams committed three turnovers but the lack of offense by the Cougars doomed them.
— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) November 24, 2018
The Cougars pile up an impressive 379.8 yards per game through the air this season while they add 83.2 yards per game on the ground. Washington State is 15th in the country in scoring offense with an average of 38.3 points per game while they stand 39th in scoring defense by allowing 23.1 points per contest. Gardner Minshew, who transferred from East Carolina, has completed 433 of 613 passes for 4,477 yards with 36 touchdowns and nine interceptions while adding 103 yards plus three scores on the ground. Trey Tinsley is seven of nine for 63 yards plus a score while Anthony Gordon is three of five for 17 yards and an interception. James Williams leads the team in the ground game with 119 carries for 532 yards and 12 scores. Max Borghi chips in 67 carries for 353 yards plus seven scores. In the passing game, Davontevean Martin is second on the team with 65 receptions for 650 yards plus eight scores. Williams (team-high 76 grabs, 560 yards, four TD), Jamire Calvin (37 catches, 462 yards, TD) and Dezmon Patmon (55 receptions, 740 yards, four TD) are terrific options in the passing attack. Blake Mazza has hit 56 of 58 extra points and 10 of 15 field goals with a long of 50 this season.
“Iowa State does a lot of good things, just like all the good teams we’ve played,” Leach said. “The most important thing is for us to focus on ourselves and be the best team we can be and worry about playing the best we can play.”
- Cougars are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game
- Cougars are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games overall
- Cougars are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game
- Cyclones are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in December
- Cyclones are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games
- Cyclones are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall
Updated on Dec 27 at 7:25pm EST
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
The Cougars started out as 6.5 point favorites and the line has come down to 2.5 with Iowa State getting 55% of the bets. The Sharps are clearly on the side of the Cyclones.
Injury / Weather Report
Iowa State’s Impact Injury Report
Questionable— DB D’Andre Payne (36 Tackles)
Washington State’s Impact Injury Report
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Iowa State has dealt with injuries and suspensions in their secondary this season but should be healthy for this game. Washington State throws early, often and effectively with a variety of weapons to beat you with. Mike Leach will have his team prepared to take advantage of Iowa State’s defensive weaknesses. Look for Minshew to lead the Cougars to their 11th win for the first time in school history.
Prediction: Washington State Cougars -3.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Iowa State has to try and employ the strategy that Washington did if they want to slow the Cougars here. The Cyclones have to run the ball with Montgomery, hit a few big plays and on defense, make sure tackles. Don’t try to go for the arm tackle or things like that: you have to really put the hit on Washington State’s receivers and backs. Williams and Borghi combined to haul in 123 passes so Minshew isn’t afraid to utilize them. Iowa State is used to wide open offenses playing in the Big 12 but can they handle this version of Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense?
The under is 5-0-1 in the Cyclones’ last 6 bowl games, 4-0-1 in their last 5 non-conference games, 4-0 in their last 4 Friday games, 4-0-1 in their last 5 games in December and 6-0-1 in their last 7 neutral site games. Washington State has seen the under go 7-0-1 in their last 8 games following a double-digit loss at home and 4-1 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning record. Washington State can move the ball and put up some points but the Cyclones defense does enough to help keep this one under the number.
Prediction: Under 54.5