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College Football Bowl Previews

Jeff Shain, OFN CFB writer
12/24/2017 12:27PM ET

FRESNO ST. (9-4) VS. HOUSTON (7-4)

Site: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu.

Kickoff: Sunday, 8:30 p.m. TV: ESPN.

Line: Houston by 2.

All-time series: First meeting.

Last meeting: None.


Coach: Jeff Tedford (1st season, 9-4; overall 12th season, 91-61).

All-time postseason: 10-13.

Last postseason appearance: Lost to Rice 30-6 in 2014 Hawaii Bowl.

Draft spotlight: C Aaron Mitchell. Heart and soul a Fresno State line that has given up the third-fewest TFLs in the nation. Made the transition to center midway through last season, with 19 starts there following 16 starts at guard. Father Anthony played college football at Oklahoma.

Other Bulldogs to watch: WR KeeSean Johnson, DE Tobenna Okeke.

Bulldog Snaps: A victory would make Fresno State just the second team in FBS annals to go from a season with double-digit losses (11) to one with double-digit wins. Miami (Ohio) was the first in 2010. … Johnson has caught a pass in 35 consecutive games, going back to the 2015 season. … The Bulldogs are No.9 nationally in scoring defense, giving up 17.2 points per game.


Coach: Major Applewhite (1st season, 7-4).

All-time postseason: 11-13-1.

Last postseason appearance: Lost to San Diego State 34-10 in 2016 Las Vegas Bowl.

Draft spotlight: WR Linell Bonner. Former walk-on has grabbed 171 passes over the past two seasons, including 73 receptions this year. Outstanding hands, with one of the lowest drop rates among college receivers. Enters the postseason with 100-yard outings in four of his past six games.

Other Cougars to watch: WR Steven Dunbar, OT Na’Ty Rodgers, LB D’Juan Hines, S Terrell Williams.

Cougar Tracks: Three of UH’s four losses have come by no more than four points, with only Tulsa able to put the Cougars away. … Houston’s seniors have 37 wins in the past four seasons; one more would tie the 2016 seniors for most in program history. … Sophomore DT Ed Oliver won the 2017 Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman.

* underclass draft prospect

Click here to listen to Bryan Moss, Publisher of for the Rivals Sports Network covering Memphis Tigers football and the American Athletic Conference.

Click here to listen to Robert Gagliardi, senior sports editor and beat writer for Wyoming football and MWC sports in Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyoming, to preview MWC bowl games.