Washington State vs Fresno State prediction, game preview, odds, how to watch. Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl Presented by Stifel, Saturday, December 17
Washington State vs Fresno State Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl Presented by Stifel Prediction Game Preview
Washington State vs Fresno State How To Watch
Date: Saturday, December 17, 2022
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
How To Watch: ABC
Record: Washington State (7-5), Fresno State (9-4)
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Washington State vs Fresno State Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl Presented by Stifel 5 Things To Know
– There’s a good chance this is the best bowl game of the first weekend. The Mountain West had a rocky season overall, and winning this won’t make everything all better, but it would be a huge narrative-boost to get a nice win over a good Pac-12 team. The Bulldogs lot to Oregon State and USC back in September.
Washington State had a strong season, beat Wisconsin, and whacked around a miserable Colorado State from the Mountain West. This is a different sort of Wazzu team under head coach Jake Dickert – more defense with lots of toughness and big plays – and it’s got a whole lot of talented parts. However …
– This is a bowl moment for Dickert and Washington State. The program hasn’t been great in bowl games lately – it’s just 8-9 all-time and 1-4 since a 2015 Sun Bowl win over Miami – with last year’s 24-21 Sun Bowl loss to Central Michigan one of the mini-shockers of the bowl season.
Not to conference shame, but another loss combined with a Cheez-It Bowl loss to Air Force in 2019 under the late Mike Leach, and this would make it three straight bowl losses to Group of Five programs. On the flip side …
– Fresno State has won three straight bowl games including two of them under Jeff Tedford. It’s his first season back at the helm after coaching the program from 2017 to 2019, he won the 2017 Hawaii Bowl over Houston and the 2018 Las Vegas Bowl over Arizona State. Last year’s team was able to slip past UTEP 31-24 even though it was in a transitional phase with head coach Kalen DeBoer off to Washington.
– It’s just the second LA Bowl. The inaugural version was canceled in 2020, and last year Utah State surprised Oregon State 24-13 in one of the bigger curveball wins of the bowl season.
– Not that one bowl win would make much of a difference in the business world of expansion, however, for a Pac-12 that needs to find more options and more schools to boost up the strength and media packages, a Fresno State win would go a long way to helping the perception of the school to potentially be part of the mix.
Why Washington State Will Win The Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl Presented by Stifel
Washington State has a reputation as a high-flying offensive program that gets into wild and crazy shootouts. That’s not really what the 2022 version does.
The passing game is fine and the offense is good, but there’s more of a focus – at least over the second half of the season – on not turning the ball over and balancing out the attack.
This isn’t exactly Army when it comes to running the ball, but the ground game hit 130 yards or more in three of the last four games to go along with more of a steady than sensational passing attack. That’s good, but the O might have to do better – more on that in a moment.
Cameron Ward hasn’t thrown an interception in the last five games and just one in the last seven, the O is automatic in the red zone, and good things happen when the ground game works – the team is 5-1 when coming up with more than 75 rushing yards. Fresno State has only allowed one team – San Jose State – to under 87 yards on the ground.
On the other side, Washington State gets pressure in the backfield, it’s solid against the run, and it’s good enough on third downs. However …
Why Fresno State Will Win The Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl Presented by Stifel
Jake Haener is as good a quarterback as the defense will have seen outside of Caleb Williams and Michael Penix Jr.. He missed four games in the middle of the season, the team was able to tread water, and everything kicked in when he returned.
The Bulldogs are on an eight-game winning streak, Haener hasn’t thrown a pick and tossed 11 touchdown passes in his last five games, and he’ll keep the pressure on a Washington State defense that allowed 200 passing yards or more in every game but three. However, all three of those games were losses.
Washington State struggles more against running teams, going 1-5 when allowing more than 121 yards and 6-0 when giving up fewer. Fresno State prefers to wing it around a bit, but it can grind it out, too, averaging 125 yards per game.
On the flip side, Fresno State is 8-0 when allowing fewer than 178 rushing yards, and Washington State as only run for more than that once.