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ASU favored big over struggling Texas Tech Monday
By: Freddy Wander - StatFox
Published: 12/30/2013  at  4:41:00 AM
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Holiday Bowl
Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, CA
Kickoff: Monday, 10:15 p.m. ET
Line: Arizona State -14, Total: 71

After losing the Pac-12 Championship at home, Arizona State attempts to finish its season strong against slumping Texas Tech in Saturday's Holiday Bowl.

The Red Raiders started the season off in spectacular fashion, winning their first seven games SU and going 5-2 ATS. They then went on to face a brutal schedule and finished 0-5 (SU and ATS) in their final five games when they were outscored by 20.6 PPG and turned the ball over three times in all five defeats. However, Texas Tech has won a bowl game in each of the past three seasons SU, including a 34-31 victory in last year’s Meineke Car Care Bowl versus Minnesota as a 13.5-point favorite. But they have gone only 1-3 ATS in their past four bowl games. The Sun Devils put together a tremendous season, eventually ending with them hosting the Pac-12 Championship game, but losing 38-14 against a tough Stanford team. They went 8-1 SU (6-3 ATS) in regular season games against conference opponents, with big wins against USC (62-41) and UCLA (38-33). Last season, ASU defeated Navy by a score of 62-28 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, their first bowl win since 2005. These two programs have played only once since 1992, when Arizona State defeated the Red Raiders 31-13 back in 1999. With QB Baker Mayfield leaving the team, freshman QB Davis Webb will once again be under center for Texas Tech while star HB Marion Grice (foot) will be a game-time decision for the Sun Devils.

Can Arizona State add to Texas Tech's losing skid with a convincing victory? For the answer, connect to College Football Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 regular season and bowl season. The four experts finished the regular season a collective 51.1% ATS (120-115-7) on college football Best Bets, led by StatFox Dave's stellar 57% ATS (35-25-2) mark. This included a 64% ATS (23-13-2) record in his final 11 weeks. StatFox Gary was 2-1 ATS in the final week to finish 53% ATS (21-19-1) in the regular season. Gary was 56% ATS (20-16-1) in college football Best Bets since Week 3. StatFox Brian also finished strong with a 3-1 ATS mark on Best Bets in Championship Week, giving him his fourth straight winning season of college football Best Bets at 52% ATS (33-30-1). StatFox Scott is looking to repeat a huge 2012-13 bowl season, when he posted a 71% ATS mark in Best Bets (5-2-1).

Texas Tech has been one of the top passing teams in the country and averaged 392.0 passing YPG (2nd in nation) this year. QB Baker Mayfield made news when he became the first walk-on true freshman to start a season opener for a BCS school, but has since decided to enroll at Oklahoma and attempt to walk-on to their team next season. In the wake of his decision, QB Davis Webb has reclaimed the starting job where he's done quite well, throwing for 2,315 yards (7.2 YPA) with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions over nine games played. He threw for 400+ yards in three different games on the season, but did not play the last two as Mayfield reclaimed the starting job before leaving the team. HB Kenny Williams (480 yards, 8 TD) split time with fellow HB DeAndre Washington (399 yards, 4 TD) who is questionable for this matchup with an undisclosed injury. The running game was certainly not the focal point for Texas Tech as it ranked 107th in the nation (121.3 YPG) on the ground. NFL hopeful TE Jace Amaro caught 98 passes for 1,240 yards (12.7 avg.) and 7 TD on the season while putting together four games in the middle of the season where he went over eight receptions and 115 yards in each game. WR Eric Ward also had a big season with 904 yards on 80 catches (11.3 avg.) and eight touchdowns. The defense gave up 31.2 PPG to their opponents (90th in nation) and allowed 48.6 PPG over their five-game losing skid to finish off the regular season.

The Sun Devils were lightning in a bottle all season thanks to an offense that averaged 276.8 YPG through the air (29th in nation) and 184.0 YPG on the ground (47th in FBS) while scoring 41.0 PPG (10th in nation). QB Taylor Kelly was the provider of much of this offense as he threw for 3,510 yards (7.7 YPA) with 28 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, while also adding 473 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. His performance slowed down after the Halloween game versus Washington State though, as he averaged only 199.8 passing YPG and five total touchdowns through the air in his last five games, including the Pac-12 Championship Game loss to Stanford. HB Marion Grice should be able to start on Monday. He ran for 996 yards (5.2 YPC) and 14 touchdowns despite missing the last two games of the regular season. He added a lot to the passing game as well with 438 receiving yards on 50 catches (8.8 avg.) and six touchdowns. WR Jaelen Strong (1,094 rec. yards, 7 TD) had seven games of 100+ yards on the season, but had only two catches for 27 yards in the Pac-12 title game. Arizona State boasts two of the better defenders in the upcoming NFL draft with DT Will Sutton (46 tackles, 4 sacks) and LB Chris Young (103 tackles, 7.5 sacks), but did not do great in the high-octane Pac-12, allowing 25.8 PPG to their opponents on the season.

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