Tonight's games

December 23, 2004|By Orlando sentinel

Fort Worth Bowl

Cincinnati (6-5) vs. Marshall (6-5)

Where: Amon Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas.

Time, TV: 6:30, ESPN.

Key stats: Cincinnati averaged 39.3 points in its six wins but just 15.2 in its five losses. Marshall is 14th in the nation in rushing defense (105.8 ypg).

About Cincinnati: The Bearcats -- who have 19 senior starters -- began 2-4 before coming on strong late in the season. QB Gino Guidugli (24 TDs, seven INTs), TB Richard Hall (86.4 ypg) and WR Hannibal Thomas (nine TDs) are the key offensive players. Guidugli missed the regular-season finale with a broken bone in his throwing hand, but he's expected to start tonight. The run defense isn't much; the pass defense is solid.

About Marshall: The Thundering Herd started 0-3, then lost two games in November to fall out of the hunt in the MAC. The defense was sterling throughout, but the offense was mediocre. DE Jonathan Goddard had a season to remember: 78 tackles, 16 sacks, 28 tackles for loss. There's a nice tandem at safety in FS Chris Royal and SS Curtis Keyes. WR Josh Davis is a big-timer (81 catches).

The buzz: Pressure on the quarterbacks is key, especially from Cincinnati's view. Hill can be forced into mistakes, and if the Herd has to rely too much on the run, they won't win.

The line: Cincinnati by 1 1/2 .

The pick: Cincinnati, 26-21.

Las Vegas Bowl

UCLA (6-5) vs. Wyoming (6-5)

Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas.

Time, TV: 9:45, ESPN

Key stats: UCLA is 23rd in the nation in rushing offense (190.3 ypg). Wyoming is 84th in the nation in rushing defense (184.0 ypg).

About UCLA: The Bruins have a nice 1-2 punch at tailback in Maurice Drew (88.1 ypg) and Manuel White (69.2 ypg). They must have good nights because QB Drew Olson won't beat anyone with his arm. TE Marcedes Lewis is a big-time weapon. The defense has been horrible, ranking 106th overall. The line has been overrun with an alarming frequency, meaning LBs Spencer Havner and Justin London have to make a ton of tackles.

About Wyoming: The Cowboys are bowling for the first time since 1993, and they're here despite losing four of their final six regular-season games. WR Jovon Bouknight (88.0 ypg, seven TDs) is a good receiver. It's vital that QB Corey Bramlett get time to throw. The Cowboys' tailback-by-committee approach with Ivan Harrison and Joseph Harris has had its moments.

The buzz: Wyoming will be able to score some points, assuming UCLA doesn't chew up the clock with its running game. Wyoming needs to force at least three turnovers to keep this close.

The line: UCLA by 12.

The pick: UCLA, 37-17.

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