Defenses Front and Center in Cheez-It Bowl
The fans at Chase Field will see the TCU Horned Frogs and the California Golden Bears on Wednesday evening. They are participants in the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl. This Bowl has been around since 1989 and had several names. Staring as the Copper Bowl, then the Insight.com Bowl, then the Cactus Bowl and finally the name it has now.
Defense figures to be at center stage when California and TCU Tonight. Cal is allowing only 21.3 points per game, while TCU is close behind at 24.4. The Horned Frogs are 6-0 against Pac-12 opponents under coach Gary Patterson. That included a 39-37 victory over Stanford in last year’s Alamo Bowl.
Linebackers Evan Weaver and Jordan Kunaszyk have a combined 275 tackles for the Golden Bears. They had won four of five before losing 23-13 to Stanford on Dec. 1. The Bears opened Pac-12 play with three straight losses. Later the team recorded signature wins over Washington (12-10) and USC (15-14). Cal secured a bowl berth for only the second time in seven years. Kunaszyk received first team All-Pac-12 honors after recording 11 tackles for loss, four sacks and five forced fumbles.
The Horned Frogs dropped five of its first eight games and it looked like a long season. They finished by winning three of its last four, including a 31-24 home win over Oklahoma State in the season finale. The Horned Frogs held opponents to an average of 344.4 yards per game. They have been especially tough against the pass. The unit is allowing only 202.6 yards through the air. The team boasts two of the top defensive ends in the country. They have first team All-Big 12 selections Ben Banogu and L.J. Collier. The duo combined for 12.5 sacks.
This, That, and a Dart Throw
The Golden Bears were 7-5 overall and 4-5 in the PAC-12 during the regular season. Cal had the worst passing offense in the Pac-12 with an average of 188.1 yards per game. Running back Patrick Laird rushed for 932 yards and had five touchdowns. He will be asked to carry a heavy load against the Horned Frogs. The defense is led by Kunaszyk and Weaver. Weaver had nine tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and two interceptions. Cal’s impressive special teams unit features several standouts. Punter Steven Coutts is solid and kick returner Ashtyn Davis averages 26.1 yards per kickoff return.
TCU was 6-6 overall and 4-5 in the Big 12 during the regular season. The Horned Frogs won three games scoring 17 points or fewer. The wins were over Iowa State, Kansas State and Baylor. They finished seventh in the Big 12 in passing offense at 226.8 yards per game. Third-string quarterback Grayson Muehlstein took over late in the season. Five players earned second team All-Big 12 honors. The players are safety Ridwan Issahaku, offensive tackle Lucas Niang, wide receiver Jalen Reagor and cornerback Jeff Gladney. Gladney had(one interception and 13 breakups. Reagor has caught a touchdown pass in seven consecutive games. He finished the regular season with a team-high 72 receptions for 1,061 yards and nine scores.
PREDICTION: TCU 21, Cal 14
Cheez-It Bowl Odds & Trends
TCU Horned Frogs Trends
- Trend Over is 5-1 in Horned Frogs last 6 games as an underdog of 10.5 or greater. Hit % 83.30% (6)
- Under is 5-0 in Horned Frogs last 5 bowl games as a favorite of 3.5-10.0. 100.00% (5)
- Under is 8-3-1 in Horned Frogs last 12 neutral site games as a favorite. 72.70% (12)
- Under is 10-3-1 in Horned Frogs last 14 games as a favorite of 0.5-3.0. 76.90% (14)
California Golden Bears Trends
- Trend Under is 4-0 in Golden Bears last 4 games as an underdog of 10.5 or greater. Hit % 100.00% (4)
- Over is 7-1 in Golden Bears last 8 neutral site games as a favorite. 87.50% (8)
- Over is 6-1 in Golden Bears last 7 bowl games as a favorite. 85.70% (7)
- Over is 21-6 in Golden Bears last 27 games as a favorite of 10.5 or greater. 77.80% (27)
Get a 50% Signup Bonus up to $1,000 at BetOnline Sportsbook!!!