A company that specializes in domestic and business cleanup after water and fire damage is now sponsoring a first-ever bowl game honoring first responders. And hey, it turns out the football game is also going to be a pretty good match-up between two teams with no real history against each other.
WHAT: First Annual SERVPRO First Responders Bowl
WHEN: Wednesday December 26th
TIME: 12:30pm CST
WHERE: Cotton Bowl; Dallas, Texas
TEAMS: Boston College (7-5, 4-4) vs. Boise State (10-3, 7-1)
The Boise State Broncos are going to be making their 17th straight bowl appearance after just losing out on the conference title when Fresno State beat them in overtime in the Mountain West Conference championship game. Boston College does not have that kind of streak. This will be the Eagles third consecutive bowl game and fifth is six years. They did, however, enjoy an eight-game winning streak in the first part of this century, so they know what they are doing in the postseason.
Boston College Eagles
The Eagles started the season on fire, going 7-2 through the first nine weeks. After getting beat by Clemson in week 10, they lost two more to end the season on a three-game losing streak to finish 4-4 in the ACC.
Part of what cost them in the latter part of the season was quarterback Anthony Brown and running back AJ Dillon being banged up and missing plenty of action. At the time of this preview, both are expected to play after having had a month off to heal.
Dillion is the wings that make the Eagles offense fly. He averaged five yards per carry for 1,100+ yards on the season and 10 touchdowns. But durability has been the challenge. He missed the North Carolina State and Louisville games in the middle of the season and managed only 12 carries in the season-ending home loss to Syracuse. When he is at full health, he is tough to bring down with one hit.
Brown threw for 2,121 yards this season and 20 touchdowns along nine interceptions. His accuracy was sometimes an issue. Like Dillon, he also had health problems. Brown went out in the first half of the loss to Clemson. The Eagles need to him to have a viable passing game so that the defense cannot key solely on Dillon.
It matters more here than for many teams. Boston College averages only 28 minutes in time of possession per game and converts on only 34% of third downs. They need bigger numbers in both in this bowl game.
Boise State Broncos
Boise State had the inverse of BC’s season. The Broncos started slowly, going only 3-2 with losses to Oklahoma State and San Diego State. They then ripped off seven in a row to win the Mountain West Conference Mountain Division title. The streak ended when they lost the conference championship game in the snow on the blue turf at home to Fresno State by a field goal in overtime.
As quarterback Brett Rypien goes, so goes the Boise State offense. The nephew of NFL quarterback Mark Rypien threw for more than 3,700 yards this season to go with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Most importantly, he has a 67% completion rating. To emphasize the point of how much the offense relies upon him, he had his worst game of the season in the conference championship game, (15 of 31 for 125 yards and one touchdown).
Running back Alexander Mattison rushed for 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns. What was most eye-opening was how he finished the season. Mattison rushed for 200 yards in each of the last two games. He averaged more than five yards per carry and had a combined four rushing touchdowns in those games.
Boise State’s defense could have a say in this game. While BC relies heavily on Dillon, The Broncos defense has given up 180 yards or more just once this season and that was to Air Force which runs exclusively. They also lead the nation in 17 fumble recoveries.
This is the second meeting between the two schools. The last one was in 2005, which Boston College won 27-21.
Besides just providing more college football to watch while you wait to return all your Christmas presents, perhaps the best aspect of this inaugural Servpro First Responders Bowl, is that all Dallas-Fort Worth first responders are eligible to get up to free four tickets to the game.