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Game Preview: Washington State (8-4) vs. Miami Florida (8-4)  (Sun Bowl)

Two teams that had big second halves of the year square off in El Paso as the Washington State Cougars face the Miami Hurricanes in the Sun Bowl. Washington State went 8-3 with upset wins at Oregon and UCLA after losing it’s opener to
I-A Portland State. After getting their doors blown off 58-0 and seeing their coach fired, the Canes rebounded by going 4-1 down the stretch with the only blemish a loss to No.10 North Carolina. The games opened at Washington State -3 with the
total 61. Miami and over money has moved the number to Cougars -2.5 and 62. Weather will be a factor in this 2:00 PM EST kickoff on CBS as there is a 100% chance of rain with winds gusting between 15-20 miles per hour.

Good news for the Washington State aerial show as circus master Luke Falk (4266, 36/8) is back from injury to call the shots. Falk was out for the Apple Cup finale vs. Washington and Wazzou was summarily destroyed 45-10 by the Huskies. The Coogs
rush for less than 80 ypg. but are the top ranked passing attack in the nation averaging 397 ypg. Gabe Marks (99, 1125, 14 TDs) and Dom Williams (73, 997, 11 TDs) are the best of a talented group of wide outs, five of which have 40+ catches. The WSU
defense is shaky but defended the pass  OK which was paramount on the Pac 12.

With end of the season wins over Duke, Virginia, G Tech and Pitt plus the hire of Mark Richt as it’s new head coach … there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future of the Miami Hurricanes. QB Brad Kaaya is just a sophomore but already has
24 career starts. Joseph Yearby (939, 6 TDs) get the bulk of the carries with Mark Walton (438, 8 TDs) the short yardage specialist. Both backs have 20 catches in a dump off role. Rashawn Scott (47, 630, 5 TDs) is the top receiver. The Cane defense
is 99th against the run but 27th against the pass which should do them well in this matchup.

Wazzou HC Mike Leach returns to West Texas where he had the bulk of his success with Texas Tech. He’ll also look to make amends for Washington State’s only Bowl appearance since 2003, a 2013 48-45 loss to Colorado State in a game that CSU scored
17 points in the final two minutes. Over the last six years, Pac 12 teams are 7-1 against teams out of the ACC. Falk is not a Leach system quarterback, he has skills. Miami is high on a roll but most definitely in a state of transition and were reportedly disappointed
about not being invited to the Pinstripe Bowl. In the end, it could come down to motivation and the weather.

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