Fresno State vs Houston Preview

Fresno State vs Houston

A battle of first year head coaches at their respective programs headline this year’s Hawaii Bowl. Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford has rejuvenated the Bulldogs’ program, similar to how he made California competitive against the Pac-12 powers. Tedford is the coach who gives the Bulldogs (9-4) the confidence they need. He led Cal to eight bowl games, winning a school-record five of them.

Fresno State has the opportunity to win a 10th game in the Dec. 24 contest, which was unfathomable to start the season as Tedford took over a program that went 1-11 last year and fired coach Tim DeRuyter four games before then end of the season. The eight-win difference from last year is the greatest increase in the FBS this year.

Tedford played and coached at Fresno State before returning this season.

“Our approach has been about one game at a time the whole time,” he said. “It hasn’t been about the number of wins. Not everybody has an opportunity to get double-digit wins. We have the opportunity to do that.

“It’s still about one game. Now, because it could be No. 10, will that be nice as far as how history records this 2017 year? Yes. But it’s still about one win. It’s about one more opportunity for us to play together. It’s about a chance to send the seniors out successfully. We’re looking at it that way, mainly.”

Houston’s first year head coach is former Texas quarterback Major Applewhite, who is coaching his first ever bowl game. Applewhite will be pulling double-duty as he will be in charge of the offensive play calls after offensive coordinator Brian Johnson left for Florida after the regular season.

Applewhite does not plan to fill Johnson’s spot until after the Hawaii Bowl.

“There’s a fine line between waiting too long and there’s also a fine line between going too fast,” Applewhite said. “There’s some good prospects. We just want to take our time.”

Applewhite is counting on Houston to continue its strong finish to the regular season. The Cougars won three of their past four games.

“I’ve been to Hawaii and know the hospitality is first-rate, so they’ll have an outstanding time,” Applewhite said. “I just told the guys that (there are other teams that) go out there with this goal and, at the end of the year, don’t get there. So, don’t take anything granted.

“Let’s finish strong with our finals. Let’s finish strong this semester, and then let’s go get ready for a great Fresno State team.”

Fresno State has not won a bowl game since 2007, when it beat Georgia Tech 40-28 in the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho. Its most recent bowl game did not go well — a 30-6 loss to Rice in Hawaii in 2014 that dropped the school to 10-13 in bowl games.

Quarterback Shuffling

The Cougars have been shuffling their quarterbacks a lot this season but have seemed to find their guy in D’Eriq King.

King, a sophomore, has been more efficient and less turnover-prone than Kyle Allen or Kyle Postma. He has provided Houston with a dynamic dual threat since making his first start Nov. 4 against East Carolina.

King completed 73 percent of his passes for 832 yards with four touchdowns and one interception and rushed 29 times for 212 yards and five touchdowns. He has 15 pass plays of 20 or more yards, including touchdowns of 61, 62 and 75 yards.

“One of the coaches I worked for said, ‘If you’re not giving it to people that score, what are you doing?’ We are going to continue to feature guys like D’Eriq. He’s a very tough player,” Applewhite said.

Prediction

I truly believe whoever wins the turnover battle will win this game. Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion rarely turns the ball over, only throwing four interceptions in 303 pass attempts this season.

Houston has dealt with a multitude of different quarterback’s under center, but have settled on sophomore D’Eriq King. I have more confidence in McMaryion than King and that could be the deciding factor.

LINE: -1.5 Houston

Fresno State 28 Houston 24

https://i2.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/picmonkey-image-31.jpg?fit=1000%2C600&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/picmonkey-image-31.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Dan SchalkConference USANCAAFRecent PostsCollege Football,Fresno State Bulldogs,Fresno State vs Houston,Hawaii Bowl,Houston CougarsFresno State vs Houston Preview A battle of first year head coaches at their respective programs headline this year's Hawaii Bowl. Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford has rejuvenated the Bulldogs' program, similar to how he made California competitive against the Pac-12 powers. Tedford is the coach who gives the Bulldogs (9-4) the...