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Hawaii Bowl: Boise State Broncos vs. Oregon State Beavers Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/24/13

Oregon State Beavers (6-6) at Boise State Broncos (8-4)

College Football: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 at 8:00 pm (Aloha Stadium)

The Line: Boise State Broncos +3 -- Over/Under: 65.5 See the Latest Odds


Storyline: Boise State clashes with Oregon State in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Tuesday night with the Broncos looking for their fifth straight bowl victory and the Beavers just happy to be in the postseason after finishing the slate on a five-game losing streak.

The Breakdown: Boise State finished the regular season with less than 10 wins for the first time in eight years, but at 8-4 the Broncos could still match their nine win total of 2005 with a win here, making their worst regular season in 11 years not so bad after all. Boise State dropped its season opener in a 38-6 spanking to Washington and followed with back to back wins before losing 41-40 at Fresno in the game’s closing minutes. The Broncos then took three out of their last five, with the highlight a 42-30 victory over Colorado State, in which Boise State somehow came out ahead despite surrendering 626 total yards to the Rams.

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Hawaii Bowl: Boise State Broncos vs. Oregon State Beavers Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/24/13

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos had a bit of setback with their QB situation this season when senior Joe Southwick (1,654 YDs, 12 TDs, 5 INTs) went down in week 7 with a broken ankle. Junior Grant Hendrick (1,443, 15 TDs, 5 INTs) stepped in and led the team to a 4-2 record in its last six and posted some pretty solid numbers along the way with a 305 yard, 5 TD performance against Colorado State his best outing. Southwick was back this week and slated to play, but reportedly sent home for a rules violation so Hedrick will get the start. Boise State’s passing game ranks 31st in the nation at  269 yards a game and receiving duo junior Matt Miller (77 REC, 934 YDs, 11 TDs) and sophomore Shane Williams-Rhodes (77 REC, 702 YDs, 6 TDs) are the majority of the reason why. The Broncos also boast the FBS’s 32nd best ground game, led by sophomore RB  Jay Ajayi, whose 1,328 yards and 17 TDs are second in the Mountain West Conference. Defensively, Boise State ranks 36th best in the land in scoring defense, allowing 23.8 points per contest.

Oregon State’s 6-6 campaign ended in agonizing fashion with five straight losses, the majority of which weren’t even closely contested. A 49-46 loss to Eastern Washington in the season opener was followed by a promising six consecutive wins, highlighted by decisive wins over Colorado, Washington State and Cal that made the opening loss to a subpar team look like a momentary lapse. But then came the skid and an offense that looked unstoppable during its win streak, sputtered to the finish against a bottom-heavy schedule, including Stanford, USC and Oregon.

In spite of a brutal stretch where junior QB Sean Mannion was intercepted 11 times in the Beavers’ five-game losing streak to just three times in their first seven games, the Oregon State passing game is one of the country’s best, ranking 3rd in the FBS with 382.1 yards per outing. Mannion threw for 4,403 yards, 36 TDs and 14 INTs while completing 66 percent of his passes. His primary target will be Biletnikoff Award winner Brandin Cooks. The junior WR set a PAC-12 record with 120 receptions, 1,670 yards and 15 TDs. The Beavers won’t bring much of a rushing game, with their leading rusher, junior Terron Ward, coming in with just 467 yards and 4 TDs on the season. On the defensive side, Oregon State took a beating this year and allows an average of 32.1 points per game for the nation’s 96th-ranked scoring defense.

Rick’s Pick: The line in this matchup currently favors Oregon State by 3 points with a 65.5 point total and the winning side is completely contingent on which Beaver team shows up, the team that was on the fringe of the top 25 early in the season or the one that suffered one of the worst collapses of the year down the stretch. The over looks like the play here.

Follow me on Twitter @SCPRick 

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