The late game Saturday night (10:15 pm ET) is the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl featuring the Michigan Wolverines (7-5) of the Big 10 taking on the Kansas St. Wildcats (7-5) of the Big 12 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, AZ. Kansas St. finished the season strong with wins in 5 of their final 6 games, including a 31-10 win over in-state rival Kansas on November 30th to close out the regular season. The Wildcats had a tough 2-4 start to their season that saw them lose to North Dakota St. 24-21 at home in week 1. Michigan lost their season finale in dramatic fashion at home to rival Ohio St. 42-41, and limped to a 1-4 finish down the stretch after a promising 5-0 start to the season
Michigan ranks 83rd among FBS teams in total offense with 382.8 yards per game and 36th in scoring offense with 33.8 points per game. Dual-threat quarterback Devin Gardner threw for 2,960 yards with 21 TDs and 11 INTs, while running for 483 yards and 11 TDs. Fitzgerald Touissant was the leading rusher for the Wolverines with 646 yards and 12 TDs, and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon caught 80 balls for 1,284 yards and 9 TDs. The Wolverines rank 38th nationally in total defense with 367.4 YPG allowed and 64th in scoring defense with 26.5 PPG allowed.
Kansas St. ranks 71st among FBS teams in total offense with 401.3 yards per game and 37th in scoring offense with 33.4 points per contest. QB Jake Waters threw for 2,198 yards with 15 TDs and 9 INTs for the Wildcats, and John Hubert ran for 968 yards and 9 TDs to lead the team. Mobile sophomore Daniel Sams should see action under center as well, Sams ran for 784 yards and 11 TDs. Wide receiver Tyler Lockett had a banner season with 71 receptions for 1,146 yards and 8 TDs. K-State ranks 36th among FBS teams in total defense with 367 YPG allowed and 36th in points allowed with 23.7 per game. The Wildcats are led by defensive end Ryan Mueller, who had 11.5 sacks and a Big 12-best 18.5 tackles for loss.
Michigan vs. Kansas St. Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Michigan Wolverines +4.5
@ Kansas St. Wildcats -4.5
Over 55.5 (-110)
Under 55.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Michigan vs Kansas St. Pick
Kansas St. has lost 5 consecutive bowl games, including the Cotton Bowl in 2011 and the Fiesta Bowl last season, since beating Arizona St. in the 2002 Holiday Bowl. Michigan has lost 6 of their last 8 bowl games.
Michigan QB Devin Gardner is uncertain to play with a turf toe injury after playing one of the best games of his career I throwing for 451 yards and 4 scores in the loss to Ohio St. The Wolverines will have trouble moving the ball on the ground with a run game that ranks 122th nationally with 3.2 yards per carry. K-state is very good at creating turnovers with 16 interceptions on the season to tie for 19th among FBS teams, which is bad news for Gardner or whoever lines up under center for Michigan. Gardner has been turnover prone when pressured, and sometimes even when not, which combined with an anemic running game severely limits Michigan on offense.
The Michigan secondary has been burned by the likes of Ohio St., Nebraska and Iowa among others; and Kansas St. can take advantage of that with Waters who averaged 9.4 yards per attempt to rank 7th nationally and Lockett who has torched Big 12 defenses. Lockett had 12 receptions for 278 yards and 3 TDs against Oklahoma St. in his best game of the year. Look for K-state to keep Michigan off-balance by playing Sams, the backup QB more than they have recently which is something Coach Bill Snyder has alluded to. This gives the Wildcat offense another element that Michigan has to defend, and should open up big plays in the passing game as well. Michigan’s injury issues and weak finish to the season and the Wildcats advantage in game planning will win out here, take Kansas State in this one.