Utah at West Virginia - Heart of Dallas Bowl - 12/26/17 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Utah Utes (6-6) at West Virginia Mountaineers (7-5)
College Football: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 at 1:30 pm (Cotton Bowl)
The Line: West Virginia Mountaineers +6.5 -- Over/Under: 54 See the Latest Odds
The Utah Utes and the West Virginia Mountaineers face off in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl on ESPN on Tuesday afternoon.
The Utah Utes received their invite to the Heart of Dallas Bowl after finishing the year 6-6 with a 3-6 record in conference play, finishing 5th out of 6 teams in the Pac-12 South, losing 6 of their last 8 games in the process. Tyler Huntley threw for 2,246 yards, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 187 of 286 passing, good for a 65.4% completion percentage. Zack Moss was the team’s leading rusher with over 1,000 yards and 9 touchdowns on 194 carries, while the aforementioned Huntley ran for 480 yards and 4 touchdowns. Darren Carrington II led the Utes’ receiving corps with a team-high 66 catches for 918 yards and 6 touchdowns, while Raelon Singleton added 34 receptions for 479 yards and 4 touchdowns. On defense, the Utes boasted a decent effort this season, giving up 353.5 yards per game, including just 214 yards per game through the air and 23.9 points per game this season.
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The West Virginia Mountaineers reached the Heart Of Dallas Bowl thanks to a 7-5 overall record, including a 5-4 mark in Big 12 play, tied for a 4-way tie for 4th in the conference. Will Grier threw for almost 3,500 yards on 250 of 388 passing, good for a 64.4% completion percentage with 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Justin Crawford led the team in rushing with 1,060 yards and 7 touchdowns, while Kennedy McKoy added 570 rushing yards and 7 ground scores of his own. Gary Jennings led the team with 94 catches for 1,030 receiving yards, while David Sills V recorded 60 catches for 980 yards and 18 touchdown grabs and Ka’Raun White chipped in 58 grabs for 978 yards and 11 TDs this season. The Mountaineers best defense was their offense, as the actual defensive unit for West Virginia was porous at best, giving up 452.5 yards per game, including 247.8 passing yards and 204.8 rushing yards per contest, allowing 31.6 points per game this season.
Utah is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games against the Big 12 and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 bowl games while the over is 4-1 in their last 5 games overall. West Virginia is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 bowl games and 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall while the over is 6-1 in their last 7 games following a loss.
West Virginia had one of the stronger offenses in the country this season, but it was heavily predicated on the pass attack led by Will Grier, who is doubtful for this one and probably won’t play. If that’s the case, I can’t see West Virginia moving the ball as successfully without Grier, and although they’re not coming into this one in very good form, the Utes have enough talent to do some damage and at least won their season finale, which is more than the Mountaineers can say, so I’ll lay the touchdown with Utah here.