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NCAA Bowl Previews 2015/16: BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl

The fourth New Year’s Six Bowl, the first of New Year’s Day, is perhaps the best Bowl match-up of Bowl season, with the (8) Notre Dame F


The fourth New Year’s Six Bowl, the first of New Year’s Day, is perhaps the best Bowl match-up of Bowl season, with the (8) Notre Dame Fighting Irish taking on the (7) Ohio State Buckeyes. Notre Dame came into this season with very lofty expectations. Even in Week 3 when Malik Zaire was lost for the season, DeShone Kizer’s play in relief and the following week was promising. They lost just two games this year, the opponents? Clemson (24-22) and Stanford (38-36). This is a very, very good team and they’ll be looking to win their 3rd straight Bowl. The Golden Domers can put their success to a pretty balanced team, they’re good on offense and defense. Offensively, they rank 24th in yards per game (472 YPG), 37th in passing yards per game (256.7 PYG), 25th in rushing yards per game (214.8 RYG) and 30th in points per game (34.8 PPG). Defensively, they rank 38th in total yards (362 YPG), 28th in passing (195.9 PYG), 65th in rushing (166.5 RYG) and 34th in scoring (22.4 PPG). The Fighting Irish’s team is loaded with talent and junior LB Jaylon Smith is the pick of the bunch. Jaylon Smith is one of the most pro-ready players in this draft. He is probably what a machine would spit out when creating a 3-down linebacker. He is uber-athletic. He is fast, balanced, he has good acceleration and he is incredibly powerful. He is definitely one of the most forceful the most forceful tacklers in the NCAA as he regularly knocks whoever he hits backwards whilst also showing good form. Not only this, but he is very aware in coverage and he reads plays very quickly, then his speed shows as he can make up ground in the blink-of-an-eye. He is a legitimate option for a top-10 pick. Along with Smith, OT Ronnie Stanley, C Nick Martin, DT Sheldon Day, DE Romeo Okwara, SS Elijah Shumate, WR Chris Brown, LB Joe Schmidt, WR Amir Carlisle, FS Avery Sebastien, SS Matthias Farley and LB Jarrett Grace are all looking to impress in their final game in a Golden Dome. Ohio State were the inaugural winners of the College Football Playoff last year and they certainly feel like they should’ve been in the tournament again. Despite losing to Michigan State, they would probably still stand a very good chance of making the National Championship this year. Just like last year then, they’ll be looking to prove exactly how good they are. Offensively, the Buckeyes aren’t quite as balanced as the Fighting Irish, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous, they did, after all, win the National Championship this way. They rank 44th in total offense (429 YPG), 103rd in passing (187 PYG), 12th in rushing (241.9 RYG) and 28th in scoring (35 PPG). Defensively they have one up on the Fighting Irish, though, they rank 10th in total yards (304 YPG), 12th in passing (176.2 PYG), 22nd in rushing (127.3 RYG) and 2nd in scoring (14 PPG). Like the Fighting Irish, the Buckeyes are certainly not short on prospects. With that said, it isn’t hard to pick out one individual player to watch as they have the best player in the draft, DE Joey Bosa. What stands out about Bosa is his immense strength and physical stature – he already looks like an NFL player. He is 6’5” and 275lbs and plays like it. He has an incredibly strong core and upper body, and his explosive get-off immediately gives him the upper hand against tackles. Once he engages, he can beat you with a power move of with his hands, which is incredibly technically sound. Furthermore, he is tough and he is disciplined. He is everything a NFL coach wants in a DE. OT Taylor Decker, RB Ezekial Elliot, WR Michael Thomas, LB Joshua Perry, SS Vonn Bell, QB Cardale Jones, TE Nick Vannett, WR Braxton Miller, OT Chase Farris, C Jacoby Boren and DT Tommy Schutt (doubtful to play – foot) are all well worth watching as we’ll likely be watching most of them come September. If you want to watch this game, or any of the other Bowl games, the complete Bowl schedule can be found here, where you’ll be able to see how and when you can watch every game.  

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Remy Cabache

Lifetime sports fan. I have written with RealSport since the NFL section started and I have also written for my own blog, EbonyBird.com and I have had several articles published in local newspapers covering my local (American) football team.

NCAA Bowl Previews 2015/16: BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl

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