The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl from Bronco Stadium in Boise, ID is the late afternoon game (5:30 pm ET) on opening weekend of the 2013 bowl season. The Buffalo Bulls (8-4) out of the Mid-American Conference take on the San Diego St. Aztecs (7-5) of the Mountain West. San Diego St. lost their regular season finale to UNLV by a score of 45-19, but they had won 4 straight prior to that to rebound from a disastrous 0-3 start to the season. Buffalo also lost their finale to Bowling Green (24-7), and 2 of their final 3 to end the regular season with the other loss coming at Toledo (51-41) in week 12. The Bulls are making their first bowl game appearance since 2009 and 2nd overall. SDSU is making their 4th straight bowl appearance.
The Bulls rank 71st among FBS teams in total offense with 401.8 yards per game and 57th in scoring offense with 30.8 points per game. Quarterback Joe Licata has thrown for 2,628 yards with 21 TDs and 7 INTs on the season, and running back Braden Oliver has put up big numbers with 1,421 yards rushing and 15 TDs. The Bulls defense is led by outstanding linebacker Kahlil Mack, voted the winner of the 2013 Jack Lambert Award for the top linebacker in college football. Mack, the MAC Defensive Player of the Year, has recorded 94 tackles and 10.5 sacks. Buffalo ranks 43rd among FBS teams in total defense with 376.3 YPG allowed and 27th in scoring defense with 22.3 PPG allowed.
The Aztecs were one of the most resilient teams in the county, winning 3 of 4 overtime games to tie an FBS record. SDSU ranks 57th among FBS teams in total offense with 422 yards per game and 70th in scoring offense with 28.2 points per contest. Quarterback Quinn Kaehler has thrown for 2,796 yards and 17 touchdowns with 9 INTs. Running back Adam Muema leads the team with 1,015 yards rushing and 12 TDs, wide receiver Ezell Ruffin is Kaehler’s top target with 63 receptions for 1,051 yards and 3 TDs. SDSU ranks 55th overall in total defense with 392.6 YPG allowed and 96th in scoring defense with 32.3 PPG allowed.
San Diego St. vs. Buffalo Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
San Diego State Aztecs +1
@ Buffalo Bulls -1
Over 53 (-110)
Under 53 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
San Diego St. vs Buffalo Pick
Both of the prior 2 Potato Bowls came in UNDER the total. SDSU is 1-2-1 ATS in bowl games since 1998. Buffalo started the season 1-2 straight up and ATS, with losses to one-time top 10 teams in Ohio St. and Baylor before rebounding with a 6-0 run straight up and ATS in the middle of the season.
SDSU has some troubling losses this season, including a 40-19 loss to FCS Eastern Illinois at home as a 16 point favorite to open the season in which they allowed 533 total yards and 6.5 yards per play, and the season finale to UNLV in which they allowed 401 total yards and 6.4 yards per play. The Aztecs threw 4 interceptions in the first game and 2 in the later, and turnovers here against a Buffalo defense that had 15 interceptions (tied for 27th nationally) and has an explosive playmaker in Mack will be a recipe for disaster. Buffalo has only had one bad defensive game outside of the Ohio St. and Baylor losses, against Toledo in week 12. With the superior defense and a tough schedule that saw them face two top-25 teams, Buffalo is a more battle-ready team. Take the Bulls here.