SMU, Fresno State Square Off Monday In Hawaii Bowl

By: Willie Bee | Friday, December 21, 2012

Fresno State Bulldogs vs. Southern Methodist Mustangs
Hawaii Bowl Betting Preview
12/24/2012 at 8:00 p.m. (ET)
Opening Lines: Fresno St. -12½, O/U 60½
(click here for latest college football odds)
Television: ESPN

Fresno State Bulldogs: It was a very successful first season in the Mountain West Conference for the Bulldogs (9-3 straight-up, 11-1 against the spread), who captured a share of the league title during their first year under Coach Tim DeRuyter. Fresno State also made a lot of friends on the college betting front with nearly 10 units of profit vs. the lines. The only hiccup at the window was a midseason 20-10 loss at Boise State as a 7-point 'dog, but FSU recovered with five consecutive wins and covers to end the campaign. The Bulldogs offense had a lot to do with the team covering seven times as double-digit chalk, and that unit was directed by quarterback Derek Carr, the younger brother of former Fresno star David Carr. The junior out of Bakersfield completed over 68 percent of his passes for 3,742 yards and an outstanding 36:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The passing game was supported by a ground unit that averaged nearly 166 yards per contest behind Robbie Rouse's 1,468 yards (13th in country).

SMU Mustangs: It will be something of a homecoming for Coach June Jones when he brings Southern Methodist (6-6 SU, 7-5 ATS) to the islands for Christmas. Jones spent nine seasons at the helm of the Hawaii Warriors, a span that included guiding the team into this bowl contest four times. He also got to know Fresno State very well, with the Bulldogs and Warriors growing into a strong WAC rivalry before the Bulldogs bolted for the MWC. The Mustangs closed their season with a 35-27 upset of Tulsa to gain bowl eligibility and hand the Golden Hurricane their only Conference USA defeat of the campaign. SMU was a 6-point underdog in the contest, and finished 6-1 ATS at home. Former Texas QB Garrett Gilbert directed the Ponies offense with more than 2,700 yards passing, and the unit was augmented by Zach Line's 1,207 yards rushing. The Mustangs are making their fourth consecutive bowl appearance with this game, and second Hawaii Bowl matchup after a 45-10 win and cover over Nevada in 2009, Jones' second year with the program.

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