Kansas State vs UCLA Preview and Prediction: Cactus Bowl
Kansas State vs UCLA Preview
This matchup is becoming a welcomed staple in college football bowl games. Three years after UCLA held off the Wildcats 40-35 in the 2014 Alamo Bowl, the teams will renew the rivalry in the 29th Cactus Bowl at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks that becomes a football venue once a year.
Points have not been a problem for either school this season. UCLA (6-6) scored 405 points and Kansas State (7-5) has 385, both averaging more than 30 per game. Each has scored at least 40 four times.
Oh hey, Chip
Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly was hired to replace Mora, and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch will coach the Bruins here.
“I’ve tried to tell our guys the same thing — my mindset is what their mindset should be,” Fisch said about approaching the game. “After the (bowl game), there is going to be so much newness for them, whether it be all the guys who are graduating or a couple of guys leaving early possibly. New recruits. New coaches.
“If they get distracted, they are not going to be at their best” against Kansas State. “We are really trying to spend all our time on where our feet are today.”
See ya, Josh
UCLA QB and potential Top 10 draft pick Josh Rosen will not play in this game after doctors failed to clear him–not from a concussion, but concussion risks. That is unlike another potential high QB pick, Josh Allen who suited up for his Wyoming Cowboys one final time, delivering them a victory.
There were reports the Rosen wanted to play in this game, but a few days ago, they mysterious doctors said he should not play.
Rosen had a career-high 491 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-44 victory over Texas A&M in the season opener, when he threw four touchdown passes in the final 13:22 to help the Bruins overcome a 44-17 deficit for the biggest comeback in program history. Rosen passed for 292 yards in the fourth quarter.
Kansas State has faced top quarterbacks in Big 12 conference play the past several seasons in Oklahoma Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph.
“It’s interesting that we are (playing another elite quarterback),” Snyder said. “What’d be more interesting is if we could get one of them stopped. I don’t know that there’s anything that really separates (Rosen). I think all of them are quality quarterbacks, excellent quarterbacks. That’s not just my opinion; I think that’s virtually everyone’s opinion.
“He (Rosen) is good at processing information. He makes good decisions. He has patience and works through his progressions, and is an accurate thrower. He can put some velocity on the ball as well, and I think that’s something (that) probably describes all three of them as much as anything.”
Wildcats QB Carousel
Kansas State won four of its last five games, with redshirt freshman quarterback Skylar Thompson starting the last three.
Thompson is the last of the three quarterback starters Kansas State has used after a knee injury in the fifth game sidelined No. 1 Jesse Ertz, a senior who was the MVP of the Wildcats’ 33-28 Texas Bowl victory over Texas A&M last season. Sophomore Alex Delton started four games before Thompson moved into the position.
Thompson threw for 204 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-40 victory over Rudolph and then-No. 10 Oklahoma State on Nov. 18. His quarterback efficiency rating in five games is 152.8.
“A young guy that maintains his poise and has an appropriate level of confidence about him,” Snyder said of Thompson. “His execution is very consistent and has been consistently good.”
The Wildcats’ only loss in the last five was to No. 23 West Virginia. Their two most recent defeats before were to No. 2 Oklahoma and top-15 team TCU. UCLA has beaten bowl teams Arizona State, Oregon and Texas A&M.
I’m not high on Josh Rosen as an NFL prospect, but his loss is big for the Bruins–the Wildcats may be down to their third quarterback, but I like K-State’s ability on the defensive end to make enough stops in this game.
LINE: -6 Kansas State
Kansas State 34 UCLA 23