2007 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl Preview
No. 11 Arizona State (10-2, 7-2; PAC 10) vs. No. 19 Texas (9-3, 5-3; Big 12)
December 27, 2007 @ 8:00 PM (EST) – ESPN – Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, CA
Dennis Erickson has won just about everywhere he has been and he is already proving that we can expect more of the same at Arizona State. The Sun Devils tied for the Pac-10 title in Erickson’s first season in the desert and nearly reached a BCS bowl. Arizona State’s ten wins were the most since the program won ten in 1996 when Jake “The Snake” Plummer led the Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl.
While it wasn’t granted the opportunity to stay at home to play in the Fiesta Bowl, ASU does appear to be excited about the chance it has received with the Holiday Bowl. The Devils will get to play one of the most successful programs in the history of college football in the Texas Longhorns. The Horns, who are making their fourth Holiday Bowl appearance in eight seasons, are making their 47th bowl trip in their program’s history and tenth consecutive.
Both teams possess potent offensive attacks.
ASU’s junior quarterback Rudy Carpenter has thrown for over 3,000 yards while connecting on nearly 64 percent of his passes. He sports a touchdown to interception ratio of nearly three to one (23-8). However, the Sun Devil offensive line has struggled to protect him—surrendering an astounding 51 sacks. Carpenter must exercise good decision-making and pay attention to his “mental clock” so he won’t hold the ball excessively.
Chris McGaha is Carpenter’s top target and has 52 receptions for 751 yards and Michael Jones had 8 TDs to lead the team.
The 2007 Holiday Bowl appearance marks the Longhorns' 4th in the past 8 years as Texas fell to Oregon in 2000, defeated Washington in 2001 and fell to Washington State in 2003.
The Texas offense is ranked 13th nationally with 472 ypg and is led by sophomore QB Colt McCoy and RB Jamal Charles. McCoy passed for 3,129 yards and 21 TDs, but his 18 INTs are a cause for concern. McCoy's top targets include senior WR Nate Jones (748 yards, 5 TD) and junior WR Quan Cosby (625 yards, 5 TD).
Charles led the Big 12 in rushing with 1,458 yards and 16 TDs and averaged 121.5 rushing ypg for the season, but had a career-best 290 yards and 3 TDs vs. Nebraska in October. Charles reached the 100-yard rushing mark in 6 of the Longhorns 12 games, all Texas wins, and Texas will need a similar effort against a stout ASU rushing defense.
Texas has more experience in big games and in the end this experience will help propel the #19 Longhorns over the #11 Sun Devils.
Texas 34 - Arizona State 30
by Thomas "Bubba" Rosenbaum
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