Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Betting Preview: Buffalo Bulls vs San Diego State Aztecs

2013 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Buffalo Bulls vs San Diego State Aztecs

Bronco Stadium – Boise, Idaho
Saturday, December 21, 2013, 5:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Buffalo -1 1/2
Current Line: Pick
Current Total: 54
Current Total: 52 1/2
Opening Money Line: Buffalo -125 / SDSU +105
Current Money Line: Buffalo -115 / SDSU +100 

Buffalo and San Diego State meet in the 2013 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Saturday in Boise.
Buffalo and San Diego State meet in the 2013 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Saturday in Boise.

The 8-4 Buffalo Bulls finished 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the MAC East, a game behind eventual MAC Champion Bowling Green. The Bulls are making their second ever bowl appearance in school history. The Bulls lost 38-20 to Connecticut in the 2008 International Bowl in Toronto.

Buffalo will travel to Boise for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl where they will face the 7-5 San Diego State Aztecs. The Aztecs finished second in the Mountain West West Division at 6-2, a game behind eventual conference champ Fresno State. San Diego State is making their fourth straight trip to a bowl game and 12th overall. The Aztecs are 5-6 all-time in bowl games, but have lost 5 of their last 6 since 1986. San Diego State lost 23-6 last year to former conference rival BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. Buffalo and San Diego State have never played each other in football before.

Buffalo is coached by Jeff Quinn. The Bulls opened the season with road losses at one loss teams who will play in BCS bowls Ohio State 40-20 and Baylor 70-13. Buffalo then won seven straight games with home wins over Stony Brook 26-23 in five overtimes, Connecticut 41-12, Eastern Michigan 42-14, Massachusetts 32-3, and Ohio 30-3, along with road wins at Western Michigan 33-0, and at Kent State 41-21. Buffalo has lost two of their last 3 games at Toledo 51-41 and at home against Bowling Green 24-7 to close out the regular season. those losses were sandwiched around a 44-7 win at Miami-(OH). The Bulls are 8-4 ATS and the total is 8-4 this season. Buffalo was a 3.5 point underdog against Bowling Green and the total was 52.

Buffalo is outscoring teams 31-22 this season. Buffalo is #27 in points allowed and #57 in scoring out of 125 FBS teams. The Bulls are averaging 401.8 yards per game including 229.9 passing and 171.9 rushing yards. On defense, the Bulls are allowing 376.3 yards per game including 216.6 passing and 159.8 rushing yards. Buffalo is 59th or better in all three categories. Buffalo is +16 in turnovers with 28 takeaways. The Bulls average 62 penalty yards per game and opponents average 57. Buffalo is 83/202 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 60/182. The Bulls have forced 36 sacks and allowed 16 this season. Buffalo is 39/45 scoring in the red zone with 33 touchdowns and opponents are 26/36 with 18 touchdowns. Buffalo has three pick sixes, a fumble return for a TD, and a kickoff return for a touchdown, and has allowed a fumble return for a touchdown.

Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata has completed 59.1% of his passes for 2,628 yards with 21 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with a rushing touchdown. Back-up Alex Zordich is questionable with a concussion. He has thrown for 66 yards and rushed for 76 yards in limited action.

Running back Branden Oliver has 282 carries for 1,421 yards and 15 touchdowns, along with 22 catches for 151 yards. Anthone Taylor has 77 carries for 385 yards with 3 touchdowns, along with 7 catches. James Potts has 58 carries for 201 yards. He is questionable with a shoulder injury after missing the last game.Running back Jordan Johnson and fullback Boomer Brock are both out for the season.

Receiver Alex Neutz has 58 catches, 947 yards and 11 touchdowns. Fred Lee has 54 catches for 644 yards with 4 touchdowns. Devin Campbell has 19 catches for 200 yards, along with 2 rushing touchdowns and a kickoff return for a touchdown. Mason Schreck has only 16 catches for 126 yards but two of them went for touchdowns. Devon Hughes also has 2 touchdown catches. Receiver Marcus McGill is out for the season.

San Diego State is coached by Rocky Long. After an 0-3 start, the Aztecs went 7-2 down the stretch. San Diego State has home losses against Eastern Illinois 40-19, Oregon State 34-30, and Fresno State 35-28 in overtime, along with road losses at Ohio State 42-7 and UNLV 45-19 to close out the regular season. The UNLV loss snapped a 4 game winning streak for San Diego State. The Aztecs have home wins over Nevada 51-44 in overtime, New Mexico 35-30, and Boise State 34-31 in overtime, plus road wins at New Mexico State 26-16, Air Force 27-20, San Jose State 34-30 and Hawaii 28-21 in overtime. SDSU is 6-6 ATS and the total is also 6-6 this season. The Aztecs were 3.5 point favorites at UNLV and the total was 54.

San Diego St is being outscored 32-28 this season. SDSU is #70 in scoring and #97 in points allowed nationally. The Aztecs are averaging 422 total yards per game, including 159.8.4 rushing and 262.2 passing yards. San Diego State is #35 in passing nationally. On defense, the Aztecs are giving up 394.3 yards per game including 259.7 passing and 134.7 rushing. SDSU is #58 in total defense, #106 in pass defense, and #23 in rush defense. San Diego St is averaging 54 penalty yards per game, but opponents are averaging 48 as well. The Aztecs are -12 in turnovers with 28 giveaways. SDSU is 94/232 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 82/206. The Aztecs have allowed 28 sacks and forced 22 this season. San Diego St is 33/46 scoring in the red zone with 27 touchdowns and opponents are 39/41 with 35 touchdowns. The Aztecs have 2 punt returns for touchdowns and a pick six, and have allowed a punt return, a kick return, a fumble return and an interception return all for touchdowns.

San Diego St quarterback Quinn Kaehler has completed 60.1% of his passes for 2,796 yards with 17 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Back-up Adam Dingwell has thrown for 318 yard with 5 interceptions. He hasn’t played since the second game of the season.

Running back Adam Muema has 228 carries, 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns, along with 17 catches for 94 yards. Donnel Pumphrey has 123 carries, 750 yards and 8 touchdowns, along with 22 catches, 234 yards and 2 touchdowns. Fullback Chad Young has 18 carries for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 14c atches for 66 yards and a touchdown.  Chase Price usually gets a few carries as well. Little used running back Dwayne Garrett is probable with a concussion.

Receiver Ezell Ruffin has 63 catches for 1,061 yards and 3 touchdowns. Colin Lockett has 49 catches for 696 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with a rushing touchdown. Tim Vizzi has 17 catches for 271 yards, along with a rushing touchdown and 2 punt returns for touchdowns. Dylan Denso has 19 catches for 240 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Adam Roberts has 19 catches for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a foot injury. Eric Judge has 11 catches for 173 yards and 3 touchdowns. Eleven Aztec defensive players and four offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.

Buffalo is 7-1 ATS on fieldturf, 4-1 after gaining less than 275 total yards, 7-2 after allowing more than 450 total yards, and overall, 5-2 after scoring less than 20 points, 5-11 in non-conference games, 1-3-1 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 1-4 after rushing for less than 100 rushing yards and 1-5 against teams with winning records.

San Diego State is 4-1 ATS after allowing more than 40 points, 5-2 after failing to cover, 1-4 in December, and 1-6 in non-conference games.

Buffalo should be better equipped to deal with the cold weather of Boise than the warm weather Aztecs, but San Diego State is more used to playing on the blue turf in Boise as they play in Boise every other year. So I think that is a wash. Neither defense is that great, and this should be a shootout. I like San Diego State to win a close game.

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