Las Vegas Bowl Preview: Arizona State vs. Fresno State Date, Time, Spread

    Who: No. 21 Fresno State (11-2) vs. Arizona State (7-5) What: Las Vegas Bowl When: 2:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, December 15 Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas,

    December 4, 2018

    Who: No. 21 Fresno State (11-2) vs. Arizona State (7-5)

    What: Las Vegas Bowl

    When: 2:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, December 15

    Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada

    Opening line: Fresno State -5.5

    The Mountain West champion Fresno State Bulldogs have the opportunity for their first-ever 12-win season when they face Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl on December 15. Fresno State won 19-16 in overtime at No. 22 Boise State in Week 14 to win its conference championship game and as a result, the Bulldogs climbed to No. 21 in the final College Football Playoff rankings on Sunday.

    Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford inherited a program that went 1-11 in 2016 and he has since led the Bulldogs to a 10-4 season, followed by an even better season this fall.

    Arizona State went 7-5 in the regular season in the first year of coach Herm Edwards’ tenure in Tempe. The Sun Devils’ 2018 campaign started with promise as they upset then-No. 15 Michigan State 16-13 in Week 2 but they lost four of their next five games. Arizona State also beat Pac-12 South winner Utah 38-20 but the Sun Devils finished a game behind the Utes in the division standings, which ultimately kept them out of the Pac-12 Championship.

    Four of Arizona State’s five losses were by seven points and the other was by two. Four came on the road, so the Sun Devils were perhaps only a handful of plays away from an eight, nine or 10-win season and a Pac-12 Championship Game appearance. A bowl win over a ranked opponent would cap off what would likely be considered a successful season for Arizona State, especially after the skepticism the school received when it hired Edwards. Eight wins would be the program’s most in a season since 2014.

    Here are some players and statistical advantages to watch for in the Las Vegas Bowl.

    Fresno State

    Bowl record: 10-12 (0-2 Las Vegas Bowl)

    Players to watch:

    QB Marcus McMaryion – 3,453 passing yards, 69.9%, 8.65 YPA, 25 TD, 3 INT, 7 rushing TD

    WR KeeSean Johnson – 93 receptions, 1,307 receiving yards, 8 TD

    LB Jeff Allison – 121 total tackles, 2 INT

    Statistical keys to the game:

    Opponent red zone conversions – 62.50% (1st)

    Scoring defense – 13.7 points per game (2nd)

    4th down conversions – 70% (T-5th)

    Turnover margin – +13 (T-6th)

    Red zone conversions – 90.91% (T-11th)

    Arizona State

    Bowl record: 14-15-1

    Players to watch:

    RB Eno Benjamin – 277 carries, 1,524 rushing yards, 5.5 yards per carry, 15 rushing TD

    WR N’Keal Harry – 73 receptions, 1,088 receiving yards, 9 TD

    LB Merlin Robertson – 77 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks

    Statistical keys to the game:

    4th down conversions – 75% (3rd)

    Turnover margin – +9 (T-12th)

    Sacks allowed – 15.0 (T-18th)


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