Game to be played at the AlamoDome, San Antonio, Texas
Some of the best offensive talent in the nation will be on display when No. 10 Kansas State takes on No. 15 UCLA in San Antonio, Texas. The Bruins boast one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in junior Brett Hundley, who is one of two players in the country to complete at least 70 percent of his passes for at least 20 touchdowns with no more than five interceptions. The Wildcats’ offense is highlighted by senior wideout Tyler Lockett, who ranks fourth in the nation in receiving yards (1,351) and eighth in receptions (93) in addition to being a dynamic kick returner.
Both teams are looking to get to 10 victories for the second straight season after falling short of that goal their last time out. Kansas State absorbed a 38-27 loss to Big 12 co-champion Baylor on Dec. 6, while UCLA has not played since its five-game winning streak was halted by Stanford 31-10 on Nov. 28. Both teams also are looking to win a second straight bowl game, something the Bruins have not done since capturing eight in a row from 1982-91, while the Wildcats haven’t won consecutive bowl appearances since 1999 and 2000.
This potentially could be the final game on the sideline for Kansas State coach Bill Snyder. The 75-year-old boasts 187 victories since taking over the Wildcats program in 1989 and, while he has not indicated that he will walk away following this season, retirement is always a possibility. Still, Snyder remains excited for the Alamo Bowl, telling reporters: “Having the opportunity to play against UCLA and a Jim Mora-coached football team is a great challenge for us – one I’m sure our youngsters will be excited to get invested in. It’s a very challenging preparation for us.”
TV: 6:45 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: Action opened at UCLA +1, but quickly moved to a pick’em. The line spent an entire week listed as a pick’em before action moved the line to UCLA -1 and eventually -1.5. The total opened at 59 and has remained there.
INJURY REPORT: Kansas State – DL Terrell CLinkscales (Prob-Personal), DL Travis Britz (Out-Ankle), DB Dylan Schellenberg (Out-Leg) UCLA – QB Brett Hundley (Prob-Finger), DB Preist Willis (Ques-Head)
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Interesting change of favorite in this game finds the Bruins laying points for the 12th time this season. Evenly matched contest with UCLA 6-3 SU and Kansas State 5-3 SU versus fellow bowl teams this season. In addition, both team have struggled as bowlers of late with the Bruins just 3-6 SU in their last 9 bowl appearances and the Wildcats 2-6 SU in their last eight. Edge here may go to UCLA, though, as KSU has been out-gained in 30 of its last 38 games against bowl teams.” – Covers Expert Marc Lawrence
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “Will be interesting to see if Brett Hundley right finger is still bothering him. Hundley banged the finger against a Stanford defender’s helmet in the Bruins disappointing regular season finale, where they missed out on a chance to play in the Pac-12 title game. Generally wiseguys are on top of injury information like Hundley’s finger, and we have had two different sharp plays on UCLA. First came on Dec. 15th at UCLA +1.5 (which was opening number) and 2nd sharp play was on Dec. 18th at pick ’em, so we moved Bruins to current number of -1.5. Will likely be a very small decision on game, as 54 percent of cash & 56 percent of bets are backing UCLA.” – Mike Jerome of TopBet.eu
ABOUT KANSAS STATE (9-3 SU, 8-4 ATS, 7-5 O/U): The Wildcats gave up 584 yards in their last game against Baylor, including 412 through the air, and lost despite 14 receptions for 158 yards and a touchdown from Lockett. Quarterback Jake Waters (3,163 yards, 20 TDs) threw his sixth interception of the season – a rare turnover for a team that has given the ball to its opponent only 11 times all year. “They play perfect football almost,” Bruins receiver Jordan Payton told the media. “They don’t make any mistakes (and are) extremely disciplined, so it is going to take one of our best games we’ve ever played, and we are definitely going to be ready for it.”
ABOUT UCLA (9-3 SU, 4-8 ATS, 4-7-1 O/U): Hundley, who is projected as a first-round NFL draft pick, enters this matchup with a 70.4 completion percentage to go with 3,019 passing yards and 21 touchdowns against five interceptions. He also has contributed 548 yards and eight TDs on the ground, although Paul Perkins (1,378 yards, seven TDs) carries the bulk of the load for the Bruins’ ground attack. Still, Perkins and his teammates will need to refocus in the wake of the upset against Stanford, as he told reporters recently: “I don’t get over any loss. I lost last night in a video game, I’m still mad about it. The bowl is going to be nice, but it can’t make up for the opportunity that we had.”
*Wildcats are 19-6-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
*Bruins are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a S.U. loss.
*Under is 5-1 in Wildcats last 6 neutral site games.
*Over is 10-4 in Bruins last 14 vs. Big 12.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 54.25 percent of Covers users are backing Kansas State with 63.4 percent on the over.