Tonight's Bowl Game

December 24, 2003|By Orlando Sentinel

Las Vegas Bowl

New Mexico (8-4) vs. Oregon State (7-5)

Time, TV: 7:30 p.m., ESPN

Line: Oregon State by 2 1/2

Why you should watch: Hmmm. Maybe you need a diversion as Christmas morning nears?

About New Mexico: The Lobos are successful because of a strong ground game (227.0 ypg,, 11th in the nation) and a stout defense (317.2 ypg, 18th in the nation). TB DonTrell Moore (119.8, 19 TDs) is one of the best at his position in the West. New Mexico has been excellent against the run (80.4 ypg, fourth in the nation).

About Oregon State: The Beavers led the Pac-10 in total offense (456.6 ypg, 13th in the nation) and total defense (302.2 ypg, 12th in the nation). So how did they lose five games? They committed 36 turnovers (112th nationally) and were penalized an astounding 135 times (for 1,339 yards). TB Steven Jackson (116.3 ypg, 15 TDs) is one of the best in the nation at his position and must produce to take pressure off erratic QB Derek Anderson.

The key: Oregon State has more weapons and talent than the Lobos, but struggles when Jackson is shut down. He has been held under 100 yards four times, and the Beavers lost each time.

The buzz: Both teams beat New Mexico State (Oregon State won by 12, New Mexico by 10) and both fell to Washington State (Oregon State by six, New Mexico by 10).

The pick: Oregon State, 27-20

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