Bowl Game Betting – (22) Utes, Rams Meet in Las Vegas Bowl
John BensonNo comments
(22) Utah Utes (-4.5, 58.5 o/u) vs. Colorado State Rams
After another successful season, the Colorado State Rams (10-2) earned a berth in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl against the No. 22 Utah Utes (8-4) in Las Vegas. The Rams will be starting a new chapter as head coach Jim McElwain left the team to become the new head coach of the Florida Gators, leaving Dave Baldwin as interim coach.
“He couldn’t turn down this job,” said Colorado State senior offensive lineman Mason Myers. “We know. We seniors know how it works.”
McElwain’s tenure in Fort Collins got off to a rocky start, as the team went 4-8 in 2012, his first year at the helm. But he turned the program around, thereafter, leading the Rams to back-to-back winning seasons, including this year’s ten-win campaign.
McElwain’s legacy at Colorado State will be one of offensive prowess. The Rams rank 13th in the nation in total offense (497.8 yards per game) and 22nd in points (35.9 per game). They are led by quarterback Garrett Grayson. This season, the senior passed for 3,779 yards (sixth in the country) and 32 TDs against only six picks.
Grayson’s main target on the outside is Rashard Higgins. The dynamic 6’2″ sophomore led the nation in both receiving yards per game (149.1) and receiving touchdowns (17).
The Rams spent the majority of the season padding their stats against lesser opponents in the Mountain West Conference, however. In the Royal Purple Bowl, they will be facing a ranked Pac-12 opponent which has gone head-to-head with some of the major powers in college football this season.
During conference play, Utah posted impressive wins over then-No. 8 UCLA (30-28 on the road), then-No. 20 USC (24-21 at home), and Stanford (20-17 on the road in double OT). The Utes also dominated Colorado State’s conference rival Fresno State (59-27) in Salt Lake City earlier in the year.
The season wasn’t all bright-spots for the Utes, of course. They were demolished at home by both Oregon (51-27) and Arizona (42-10). They also lost a squeaker at Arizona State (19-16 in OT). It was the first loss of the season that remains the most troublesome; in late September, the Utes lost 28-27 at home to a Washington State team that would go on to finish the season 3-9.
The Utes enter bowl season on a high-note, though, after knocking off the Colorado Buffaloes (38-24) in the final game of the regular season.
“I’m happy for our seniors and for the whole team overall,” Whittingham said. “It’s been a tough year and they kept fighting and finding ways to get it done.”
Even though the Utes have the talent to compete with the best in the nation, the team rarely plays four solid quarters, which allows opponents to stay in the ballgame longer than they should. It’s for that reason that the Las Vegas Bowl play is Colorado (+4.5).