First Responder Bowl 2018 : After a three-day break, the college football bowl season returns Wednesday with the First Responder Bowl.
Both the No. 25 Boise State Broncos and Boston College Eagles enter Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas off disappointing finishes to the regular season.
The Broncos fell short of the Mountain West title by three points, as they lost to Fresno State on their home field, while the once-ranked Eagles dropped three in a row to close out ACC play.
On an individual basis, the First Responder Bowl features two of the better playmakers in the FBS, which will make this game worth watching.
First Responder Bowl 2018
Date: Wednesday, December 26
Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Watch ESPN or ESPN app
Odds (via OddsShark): Boise State -2.5; Over/Under: 55.5
It’s imperative for both programs to finish off the 2018 campaign on a high note after failing to meet expectations.
Boise State, who helped establish the high standard for the best Group of Five teams, reached the 10-win mark in four of Bryan Harsin’s five seasons in charge.
The Broncos have also achieved postseason success with three wins in four bowl games during the Harsin era.
Despite all the impressive records, the Broncos enter Dallas with a hunger to erase the bad taste from the Mountain West Championship loss.
Boise State is more than capable of blowing the Boston College defense out of the water through quarterback Brett Rypien and running back Alexander Mattison.
Mattison has turned in some fantastic performances of late, as he’s run for 200 yards in each of his last two games.
The junior running back has five triple-digit rushing performances in his last six games, and it’s possible to extend that streak against a Boston College rushing defense that ranks 49th in the FBS.
Rypien faces a favorable matchup against the 93rd-ranked passing defense, but he needs to keep the ball away from Hamp Cheevers, who is tied for the most interceptions in the FBS with seven.
If the Eagles are able to force a turnover or two, they will need to be able to capitalize on them with points, especially on the ground through A.J. Dillon.
The amount of success the running back has had correlates with the results earned by Steve Addazio’s team.
In the four losses he’s played in, Dillon averaged 67.5 rushing yards per contest on an average of 21 carries.
Conversely, in the six of Boston College’s seven victories Dillon has played in, he averaged 23.8 carries for 139.6 yards.
Feeding Dillon is imperative for the Eagles’ success, and if they don’t rely on their workhorse, it could be a long day in the heart of Texas for the ACC side.
Dillon isn’t the only threat on the Boston College offense, but he’s the most important, as quarterback Anthony Brown threw for just 2.121 yards and 20 touchdowns.
No receiver on the Boston College roster has more than 33 receptions and leading receiver Kobay White has 526 yards.
If Boise State’s 29th-best rushing defense, which concedes 3.6 yards per attempt, slows Dillon in his tracks, a member of the Boston College supporting cast must step up to make a few plays.
Boise State 34, Boston College 23
Ultimately, Boise State has a more balanced offense and is more capable of making adjustments throughout the contest.
The Broncos defense will do enough to disrupt Dillon’s rhythm and create separation by completing short drives from earning favorable field position.
The victory will be a nice boost for the Broncos and will keep them in the Top 25 at the end of the season, while the Eagles stumble into the offseason with four straight losses.
Source : bleacherreport.com