Both Boise State and Arizona visit Glendale, having quite different histories in regard to bowl games. There are great expectations that both teams will be well represented on 31st December, taking the Broncos’ success in the fiesta bowls 2007 and 2009, in consideration. The large fan base across the Phoenix area is also set to be a huge boost for Arizona. This will be the 3rd Fiesta Bowl for Boise State in 8 years, but the first under their head coach, Bryan Harsin.
The Wildcats recently hit a 10-win mark for their first time since the year 1998. Their 51-13 loss to Oregon was not enough to deny them a great bowl bid. Boise State currently sits at position 20, while the Wildcats occupy the 10th position. Arizona may have relied much heavily on a deep group of receivers to record 27 touchdowns this season and pass for 3,458 yards. With 7 of these receivers having caught more than 200 yards this year, a good record of throwing 277.7 pass yards in each game has been set for Rodriguez. This is actually the 28th most in the nation.
The Broncos might however, do the Wildcats a bit better. Ranking 26th in the nation and recording 278.2 pass yards in each game, they feature a superb quarterback, Grant Hedrick, who has had 22 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and passed for 3,387 yards.
Given that both teams have the tendency to rely heavily on the pass game in order to put up their points, it will certainly be a difficult encounter. However, they may also sling since the run game will have to be more than serviceable in order to make a difference.
Lacking a run game has cost Boise State their only two losses against Ole Miss and Air Force. These losses account for 2 of the handcuffed Jay Ajayi’s 4 games in which he had no triple-digit running yards. They also contribute to his 3 games in which he didn’t score any touchdowns. Despite Arizona averaging 183.8 rushing yards this season per game, they only mustered 80 in a defeat to UCLA, 111 against Oregon and 77 in their loss to USC. Although both the Broncos and Wildcats are set to display balanced attacks, any bad rushing effort by one of the squad will most likely cost them a loss.
The Vizio Fiesta Bowl is set to kick off at 1 p.m. PT on 31st December at ESPN. This will mark Arizona’s entry into the bowl season that has been followed by a year of firsts since the beginning of the 21st century.