BOWLING GREEN FALCONS (8-4)
vs. SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS (10-2)
Military Bowl - Washington, DC
Kickoff: Thursday, 3:00 p.m. EDT
Line: San Jose State -7, Total: 43.5
Two surging teams look to cap off strong seasons when No. 24 San Jose State meets Bowling Green in the Military Bowl on Thursday afternoon in the nation's capital.
Both teams enter this game red-hot with Bowling Green going 7-1 (SU and ATS) in the past eight contests and San Jose State winning six in a row SU (5-1 ATS). The Falcons haven't won a bowl since 2004, while the Spartans have played in just one bowl since 1990, a win over New Mexico in 2006. DT Chris Jones (12.5 sacks, 3rd in nation) leads a BGSU defense ranked in the nation's top-10 in both scoring (15.8 PPG, 9th) and yardage (290 YPG, 7th). San Jose State is 6-0 ATS (5-1 SU) away from home, outscoring these teams 35 to 16 on average. QB David Fales is 3rd in FBS in passing efficiency with 9.3 YPA, 31 TD and 9 INT.
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The Falcons are a below-average offensive team (374 total YPG, 86th in FBS), but they do have an experienced signal-caller in junior Matt Schilz who has 13 TD passes (but also 8 INT) over his past eight games. His favorite target has been freshman WR Chris Gallon, who leads the team in catches (47), yards (647) and TD (six) this year. Gallon caught 10 passes for 213 yards and 2 TDs two games ago against Kent State. Anthon Samuel is a capable running back (88 rush YPG), but he has failed to reach 70 rushing yards in six of his 11 games this season. In the most recent game versus Buffalo, Samuel was held to minus-four yards on nine carries. Bowling Green has many playmakers on defense besides Jones. LBs Gabe Martin (69 tackles, 8.5 TFL), Dwayne Woods (60 tackles, 7.5 TFL) and Paul Swan (60 tackles, 6 TFL) have all been strong in the middle of the field, and have helped create the 14 forced turnovers in the past six games.
Mike MacIntyre did an amazing job with San Jose State this year, especially considering he went 1-12 in his first year in 2010 with the school. But MacIntyre will not be guiding his team to a hopeful 11th victory for the first time since 1939, as he took the head job at Colorado. Defensive coordinator Kent Baer will be the interim coach for this contest, and he will lean on WAC Defensive Player of the Year DL Travis Johnson (12 sacks, 19.5 Tackles for Loss). Fales has the offensive side under control, throwing for 3,798 yards (7th in nation) and a conference-best 31 TD passes this season. His favorite targets have been WRs Noel Grigsby (1,173 rec. yds, 9 TD) and Chandler Jones (618 rec. yds, 10 TD), and senior TE Ryan Otten (706 rec. yds, 4 TD). With the 11th-best passing offense in the nation (328 YPG), the Spartans aren't too adept at running the football (124 YPG, 104th in FBS). But they do have De'Leon Eskridge (83 rush YPG, 3rd in WAC) who is coming off a monster 217-yard, 3-TD effort in the last game, a 52-43 victory over Louisiana Tech.