The only non-New Year’s Six bowl matchup involving ranked teams will take place Tuesday when No. 18 Miami (FL) and No. 21 Oklahoma State tee it up in Orlando in the Cheez-It Bowl. The Hurricanes dropped out of New Year’s Six contention their last time out when they got thrashed by North Carolina 62-26 during the final game of the regular season. That not only prevented the Hurricanes from making a major bowl but cast doubt that the 2020 season proved that they’re on the rise.
The Cowboys have had an up-and-down regular season that concluded on a high note with an emphatic 42-3 win over Baylor on Dec. 12. Quarterback Spencer Sanders threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns in that win over the Bears. What will happen in the Cheez-It Bowl? Let’s break it down and make some picks.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys got the running game going after Chuba Hubbard bailed to prepare for the NFL. Dezmon Jackson rushed for 235 yards on Nov. 28 against Texas Tech and 118 yards on Dec. 5 against TCU, but he only had 38 and didn’t find the end zone against Baylor in the regular-season finale. That responsibility fell on Dominic Richardson, who toted the rock 23 times for 169 yards and three touchdowns. The running back-by committee approach has been able to keep the offense clicking despite the mid-season shakeup.
Oklahoma State’s defense has limited big plays … at least by Big 12 standards. It ranks third in the conference at 5.18 yards per play, and leads the Big 12 in tackles for loss per game at 8.3. That aggressive style has become a staple of coach Mike Gundy’s teams over the years.
Miami (FL): Prior the North Carolina game, the Hurricanes defense had given up more than 400 yards in only one game since the Oct. 10 loss to Clemson. Things were looking up. Then they gave up 778 to the Tar Heels and all confidence has been lost. That doesn’t bode particularly well heading into this matchup. The offense, on the other hand, has been consistently solid. Transfer quarterback D’Eriq King has been as-advertised, and he has jump started this Rhett Lashlee-led offense. The Canes are racking up 5.97 yards per play and have given fans of “The U” hope for the future.
Game: Cheez-It Bowl
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 29 | Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
Location: Camping World Stadium — Orlando, Florida
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Cheez-It Bowl prediction, picks
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Give me the Cowboys to win and cover the small spread. The combination of their dynamic offense and attacking defense will be too much for the Hurricanes, who will be a little hungover from the North Carolina game, to overcome. Sanders will top the 300-yard mark, one of the running backs will top the century mark, and the Canes will head to the offseason on a sour note. Pick: Oklahoma State (-2.5) | Oklahoma State 42, Miami 27
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