WHO: San Diego State (7-5) vs. Ohio (8-4)
WHAT: The second DXL Frisco Bowl
WHEN: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
WHERE: Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas
THE SKINNY: It’s not often you should tune in to a game just for the head coaches but this season’s Frisco Bowl presents a delightful matchup between two veterans who have plied their craft steadily and with plenty of success the past two decades. Ohio’s Frank Solich (163) and San Diego State’s Rocky Long (136) have combined for 299 wins at the FBS level and elevated each of their programs to models of success in their respective leagues. Both utilize a familiar formula of playing stout defense and establishing the run so it will be fascinating to see the crafty stalwarts make adjustments and pull out a few surprises against each other under the Wednesday night lights just north of Dallas.
The Aztecs were a tale of two halves in 2018. Following a 6-1 start that included an upset of Pac-12 foe Arizona State, injuries started to mount at key positions (notably veteran QB Christian Chapman) and the team faltered to 1-4 finish. Chapman figures to get the start in this one given that it is the senior’s final game with the team but backup Ryan Agnew could come on if he continues to look out of sync with the offense. No matter who is taking snaps under center, they figure to lean heavily on tailback Juwan Washington — the latest in a long line of terrific rushers at the school.
The Bobcats don’t have any issues at signal-caller thanks to the stellar play of triggerman Nathan Rourke. The QB has accounted for 35 touchdowns this season and is as true a dual-threat as they come in averaging over six yards a carry and over eight yards per attempt. Add in A.J. Ouellette (1,142 yards) and Maleek Irons (831 yards) to the backfield and it’s safe to say that stopping — or at least slowing down — the run game will be a priority for SDSU.
That would probably be the game plan either way for the Aztecs as they sport the No. 4 rush defense in FBS, allowing just 94.5 yards per game on the ground. Linebacker Kyahva Tezino (120 tackles, 8.5 sacks) has been terrific in particular and can impact the game in numerous ways.
One thing is certain, this should be a close and hard-fought game between the two sides. SDSU has played 10 consecutive games decided by single digits and Ohio played in five games decided by a touchdown or less this year. On paper this is one of the better lower tier bowl matchups of 2018 and with a few weeks off to get healthy and prep for the Bobcats, something says the Aztecs can make a key play or two late in order to secure the victory.
THE PICK: San Diego State 24, Ohio 20.
As the old adage goes, the best-laid plans of mice and men’s Twitter accounts often go awry.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday, Florida State’s official recruiting account on Twitter posted an inspirational quote from the slain Civil Rights leader. It would’ve been fine for all involved if the account would’ve stopped there; unfortunately for all involved, they didn’t stop there.
Instead, a photoshopped image of Dr. King wearing a football glove and apparently performing the Tomahawk Chop was included as part of the tweet.
Not surprisingly, the Twitter account caught significant heat and flack for the image on social media. Just as unsurprisingly, the tweet was deleted less than an hour after it was posted and an apology subsequently issued.
Rutgers has hired Andy Buh as its defensive coordinator, the program has announced.
“We are excited to add Andy to the Rutgers football family,” head coach Chris Ash said in a statement. “He is an outstanding linebackers coach and has extensive experience in the Big Ten. Andy and I share a defensive philosophy and he is very familiar with the scheme we run, which will benefit the continued development of our defense.”
Ash and Buh worked together previously at Wisconsin, where Ash was the defensive coordinator and Buh the linebackers coach. He spent the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Maryland and has previous coordinator experience at Stanford, Nevada and Cal.
Buh replaces Jay Niemann, who served as the Scarlet Knights’ defensive coordinator for the first three seasons of the Ash era. Rutgers was 69th in total and yards per play defense and 89th in scoring in 2018, surrendering 31.4 points per game. Buh’s Maryland defense placed 78th, allowing 28.7 points per outing.
Rutgers is 7-29 under Ash and 3-24 in Big Ten play.
North Texas celebrated MLK Day by announcing a slew of future football opponents.
The Mean Green announced Monday it will play home-and-homes with Baylor and Tulane in the 2028 and ’29 campaigns. North Texas will visit the Bears and Green Wave in 2028, then host both in 2029. UNT will visit Baylor on Sept. 2 and Tulane on Sept. 23 in 2028, while the Mean Green will host Baylor and Tulane in back-to-back weeks to open 2029, with the Bears coming on Sept. 1 and the Green Wave on Sept. 8.
A previously scheduled home game with Army was bumped from 2027 to 2028 in conjunction with Monday’s announcements. North Texas also announced a home game with Texas Southern for Sept. 24, 2022.
Baylor will be the fourth Power 5 program and the second Big 12 opponent to visit Apogee Stadium, which opened in 2011. Indiana visited in Apogee’s opening season, Cal will make a visit in 2022 and Texas Tech will come to Denton in 2027.
“I am thrilled to announce two quality home-and-home series have been added to our schedules,” Mean Green AD Wren Baker said in a statement. “Baylor joins Cal and Texas Tech as Power 5 conference teams coming to Denton over the next few years. Tulane is a quality American Athletic Conference team that will be a fun trip for our fans when we return to New Orleans. I appreciate (COO) Jared Mosley‘s diligent efforts to find compelling games for our fans.”
North Texas and Baylor have met 13 times previously. The Bears have won 12 of those meetings but North Texas took the most recent meeting in Denton, a 52-14 thumping in 2003. That remains UNT’s most recent win over a Big 12 opponent.
The Mean Green and Green Wave have played just once previously, a 21-14 Tulane victory in New Orleans in 2013.
Baylor has a previously scheduled trip to Oregon slated for 2028, a return trip for the Ducks’ flight to Waco in 2027. Tulane also has a home-and-home with Iowa State in 2028-29, with the home dates flipped from the UNT series.
Boise State became a household name through playing on its trendsetting blue turf (and winning a lot), such that the school now owns a trademark for any non-green collegiate field.
The current blue playing surface is set to go away this spring, only to be replaced by a newer, bigger, bluer (probably) version.
“It’s needed,” Boise State AD Curt Apsey told the Idaho Statesman. “We’re not just doing it to do it. It’s near the end of the usual lifespan.”
The current playing surface was installed ahead of the 2010 season; FieldTurf surfaces usually have a lifespan of eight to 10 years.
“The field is shredding,” Broncos head coach Bryan Harsin told the paper last summer. “It’s just old. It needs to be replaced. It’s just time.”
Boise State has played on a blue surface since 1986, when then-AD Gene Blaymaier put in blue AstroTurf at a cost of $750,000. The school did not even join FBS until a decade later.
The new surface will extend beyond the playing field to cover the area that previously held the Broncos’ track. It is expected to cost between $600,000 and $1 million, but the school is approved to spend $600,000 as of now.