WHO: Indiana (6-6) vs. No. 19 Utah (8-4)
WHAT: The 15th Foster Farms Bowl
WHEN: December 28, 8:30 p.m. ET on Fox
WHERE: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
THE SKINNY: One of the most successful bowl teams of the past decade matches up with a team with one of the longer postseason droughts in the sport as Indiana heads to the Bay Area to take on Utah.
The Utes enter the game looking to make it three straight seasons with at least nine wins and cap off a year in which there was as much reloading as there was rebuilding. The strength of the team is not surprisingly on the defensive side of the ball as ‘Sack Lake City’ has been getting after opponents at an impressive level. Hunter Dimick leads the way and ranks first in the Pac-12 with 14.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss. Offensively, Joe Williams is the workhorse for Utah, returning from a four game “retirement” to rush for 1,185 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s rushed for over 100 yards in five of the team’s last six games and figures to play a big role in the bowl game.
While Kyle Whittingham has his program going strong, Tom Allen will head to Santa Clara as a head coach for the first time. He did a very good job in Bloomington turning around the defense this year but was elevated to the big job after the surprisingly quick departure of Kevin Wilson. The Hoosiers have their work cut out for them on that side of the ball but it will be interesting to see how the loss of their former head coach affects the offense. Quarterback Richard Lagow has had a solid season as the trigger-man for a pass-happy attack but has thrown a whopping 16 interceptions so far.
Can Indiana rise up as an underdog and win their first bowl game since 1991? Given the way both teams play, it’s hard to see this one turning into a runaway for either side but chances are Utah winds up pulling away in the second half to secure a win in a closer than expected result considering the records coming in.
THE PREDICTION: Utah 28, Indiana 20