Motel 6 Cactus Bowl Preview
Boise State Broncos vs Baylor Bears
Boise State is no stranger to postseason trips to Arizona, as the Broncos have played in the Fiesta Bowl three times since 2006. This season, they go into the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl(Enter Contest).
Baylor will be in its seventh consecutive bowl appearance. The Bears ended the year with six consecutive losses and lost starting quarterback Seth Russell to a season-ending leg injury. Freshman Zach Smith is a promising passer for Baylor and the late-season starts will ease his transition into the full-time role in 2017. Smith has a talented group of skill players at his disposal, including KD Cannon (73 catches) and running backs Terence Williams (945 yards) and Shock Linwood (751 yards).
The Broncos have struggled to stop ground attacks (179.8 ypg allowed), so Linwood and Williams could have plenty of room to run. When Boise State has the ball, Baylor is going to have its hands full trying to slow down quarterback Brett Rypien and running back Jeremy McNichols. Expect plenty of fireworks on offense between these two teams. However, the Broncos should be a heavy favorite after the Bears finished the season with six consecutive losses.
ABOUT BOISE STATE (10-2, 6-2 Mountain West)
After losing to Air Force for the third consecutive year and failing to make it into the conference championship for the second straight season, the Broncos are looking at a potential bowl win over a Big 12 team as something to build on. Junior running back Jeremy McNichols (1,663 yards and 23 touchdowns rushing), sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien (3,341 yards, 23 TDs passing), and wide receivers Thomas Sperbeck (72 catches, 1,193 yards, nine touchdowns) along with Cedrick Wilson (50, 1,041, 10) lead an offense that averaged 35.6 points and 479.8 yards per game.
ABOUT BAYLOR (6-6, 3-6 Big 12)
The Bears have the fifth-ranked offense nationally, averaging 523.3 yards and 250.3 yards rushing. However, most of that was accomplished with Seth Russell (152-of-278, 2,126 yards, 20 TD passes) at quarterback. The senior won’t play after breaking his left ankle in a 45-24 loss at Oklahoma on November 12. Freshman Zach Smith started the final three games at quarterback and threw eight touchdown passes compared to six interceptions over that span so look for the Bears to lean heavily on a running game led by sophomore Terence Williams (945 yards, 11 TDs, 5.9 per carry) and senior Shock Linwood (751, two, 5.4).