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NCAA Bowl Previews 2015/16: National University Holiday Bowl

The final game of the day pits two storied programs against one another, the (25) USC Trojans and the Wisconsin Badgers, the Pac-12 against


The final game of the day pits two storied programs against one another, the (25) USC Trojans and the Wisconsin Badgers, the Pac-12 against the Big-10. Despite their 8-4 regular season record and 6-3 Pac-12 record the Trojans found themselves back in with a shot at the Pac-12 Championship for the first time since they won the Pac-10 in 2008. But, they lost to Stanford in the Championship game, so they will be looking to bounce back with their third straight Bowl win. USC’s success this season has mainly come from the offensive side of the ball. They rank 34th in yards per game (450 YPG), 30th in passing yards per game (273.5 PYG), 62nd in rushing yards per game (176.2 RYG) and 30th in points per game (34.9 PPG). The defense has been this team’s weakness, they rank 70th in total defense (401 YPG), 98th in passing (254.2 PYG), 45th in rushing (147.2 RYG) and 57h in scoring (25.9 PPG), though they have conceded 40+ points, in all but one of their losses. As always, USC’s roster is filled with NFL prospects, and for the 2nd consecutive year their top prospect is on defense. Su’a Cravens, their junior linebacker/safety, announced that he was entering the draft a few weeks ago and has a chance of being drafted in the first round, though he may be looking at an NFL career as a safety. He’s very good against the run, he recognises plays very well and is very decisive whilst displaying excellent closing speed. In the passing game he again displays great recognition and is capable of mirroring receivers. He then exhibits natural hands to reel in interceptions. He has similarities to former USC and Pittsburgh Steelers great, Troy Polamalu, in the way he throws his body around, though he must be more disciplined when tackling. CB Kevon Seymour, QB Cody Kessler, RB Tre Madden, DT Delvon Simmons, FB Soma Vainuka, DE Greg Townsend Jr., DT Antwaun Woods, FB Jahleel Pinner, LB Anthony Sarao, DT Claude Pelon and LB Lamar Dawson are looking to make big final impacts for the Trojans, Wisconsin followed up an appearance in the Big-10 Championship last year with a 9-3 record, but the strength of the conference kind of took them out of the spotlight. Nevertheless, with a win against the Trojans they’ll secure their 2nd straight 10 or more win season as well as their 2nd consecutive Bowl win, so they have plenty to play for. Following the loss of Melvin Gordon to the NFL, it is no surprise that the offense was not quite the same this year. They rank 83rd in total offense (377 PYG), 57th in passing (229.3 PYG), 96th in rushing (148.1 RYG) and 78th in scoring (27.1 PPG). Defensively though, they are a powerhouse. They ran 3rd in total offense (267 YPG), 6th in passing (169.2 PYG), 4th in rushing (97.9 RYG) and 1st in scoring (13.1 PPG). One of the standouts on this defense is outside linebacker Joe Schobert. Coming off the edge, he has amassed 19 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and another 9.5 sacks with 4 forced fumbles. He beats tackles around the edge and he has added weight and strength in his time at Wisconsin. So, though he has improve in coverage to be an every down LB, if he continues to add strength he has a good chance of being an impactful role player. Though this will be his final Wisconsin game, he will get to showcase his talents in the Senior Bowl. Along with Schobert, OT Tyler Marz, FS Tanner McEvoy, SS Michael Caputo, TE Austin Traylor, OG Ray Ball, CB, Darius Hillary, QB Joel Stave, WR Alex Erickson, WR Jordan Frederick, P Drew Meyer, junior RB Corey Clement and redshirt junior C Dan Voltz are looking to impress one more time for the Badgers. 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: National University Holiday Bowl

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