2018 Frisco Bowl: Teams, Facts, and Pick
The first bowl in Texas this year.
North Texas gets a few bowl games of varying intrigue and allure. The 2018 Frisco Bowl is the first of those contests.
Frisco, about 30 miles north of downtown Dallas, will host the San Diego State Aztecs and the Ohio Bobcats in this game. It will also be the host to the FCS national championship game, which means North Dakota State fans have already booked their hotel rooms. Can you blame them?
Now, however, the Aztecs and Bobcats take center stage. Which one of them wins?
2018 Frisco Bowl: This Year’s Bowl Info
|Wednesday, December 19, 2018, 8:00pm ET (5:00pm PT)|
|Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas|
|Broadcast on ESPN|
|$750,000 payout (Link: College Football Poll)|
|Ohio is a 3-point favorite|
2018 Frisco Bowl: San Diego State Aztecs
|7-5 (4-4 Mountain West); 4th in Mountain West’s West Division|
|Best Win: Boise State|
|Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense 113th, Total Offense 110th, Rushing Offense 74th, 3rd Downs 111th, Time of Possession 50th, Turnover Margin T-87th, Sacks Allowed T-87th, Red Zone 36th|
|Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense T-29th, Total Defense 20th, Rushing Defense 4th, Opponent 3rd Downs 84th, Sacks Per Game T-75th, TFL Per Game T-88th, Interceptions T-74th, Opponent Red Zone 104th|
|Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking T-44th, Punts Per Game T-42nd|
2018 Frisco Bowl: Ohio Bobcats
|8-4 (6-2 MAC); T-2nd in MAC East|
|Best Win: Buffalo|
|Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense 10th, Total Offense 17th, Rushing Offense 8th, 3rd Downs 9th, Time of Possession 10th, Turnover Margin 5th, Sacks Allowed T-30th, Red Zone 32nd|
|Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense 62nd, Total Defense 66th, Rushing Defense 35th, Opponent 3rd Downs T-109th, Sacks Per Game T-87th, TFL Per Game T-79th, Interceptions T-14th, Opponent Red Zone T-106th|
|Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking T-62nd, Punts Per Game T-120th|
2018 Frisco Bowl: Head-to-Head
This game will be the first beween San Diego State and Ohio. (Link: Winsipedia)
2018 Frisco Bowl: Most Likely Standout Player
Nathan Rourke, QB, Ohio. If you’re looking for a MAC-tiony team, you have found it with Ohio. High-flying offense, not a lot of defense, but damn if they are not fun to watch at times. At the center (centre?) of that effort is Nathan Rourke, Ohio’s Canadian junior quarterback. Ohio will be facing one of the top rushing defenses in the country in San Diego State, so you may surmise that Rourke will throw the ball plenty.
What makes him so dangerous is that he can run. In the UMass game on September 29, Rourke rushed for 189 yards. In total, Rourke passed for 2,225 yards and ran for 816, accounting for a total of 35 touchdowns (22 passing). Whether or not San Diego State allows him is another matter, but Rourke is a dual threat and he should make this offense go again.
2018 Frisco Bowl: Pick
This is not the San Diego State team we saw in years past that would put together ten-win seasons. The Aztecs took a step back this season and it shows with their offense in particular. Were it not for their defense, they might not have even made it to a bowl game. Plenty of teams can say that for themselves. What is perhaps just as concerning is their cold streak, having lost four of their last five games, all to teams within their conference. Their only win was against 3-9 New Mexico. That New Mexico game, by the way, was their largest margin of victory against any FBS team: eight points. Every other win was by a touchdown or less. Such is the case when you rely on defense in low-scoring games. They beat Boise State this way, but it was before their late-season collapse.
Ohio is not a world-beater on defense, but it is hard to envision the Aztecs moving the ball with ease. San Diego State averaged 21.8 points per game against FBS opposition, including some Mountain West defenses that are awful. If this team had potential on offense, we would know it by now. Ohio may not have a great defense, but the 20s is what the Aztecs managed against comparable ones. The question is if San Diego State can hold back the nation’s number ten offense long enough. It will take a strong performance, about as strong as one as they have had this season.