2016 Foster Farms Bowl, Utah vs. Indiana Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

2016 Foster Farms Bowl, Utah vs. Indiana Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

Utah

2016 Foster Farms Bowl, Utah vs. Indiana Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

Foster Farms Bowl Prediction, Utah vs. Indiana Game Preview, History, Scores


Three reasons why you should watch the Foster Farms Bowl between Utah (8-4) vs. Indiana (6-6), why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


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Date: Wednesday, December 28
Game Time: 8:30 pm
Venue: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Network: FOX

Contact/Follow @PeteFiutak

Scroll down for the video preview and bowl history

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness (1 best-40 worst): 24 out of 40

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Foster Farms Bowl

Maybe, just maybe, Indiana will be a new team without its head coach. Will it be a liberating moment for the Hoosiers without Kevin Wilson as the head man anymore? Will the team be out to prove that it can win with Tom Allen running the show? It’s a defining moment for not just now, but the future of the program, and Allen needs to show what he can do. Speaking of something to prove …

Utah needs to make up for its miserable finishing kick. Just when it seemed like the Utes were in the mix for the Pac-12 title, it collapsed with three losses in the final four games. Yeah, the losses to Washington, Oregon and Colorado were all close, but it’s still an ugly streak. However …

There are killer bowl teams, and … Indiana isn’t one of them. But more on that in a moment. Utah is one of the best post-season programs in all of college football, going 16-4 all-time, starting with the 1936 Sun Bowl win over New Mexico. Since beating Fresno State in the 1999 Las Vegas, the Utes are a ridiculous 12-1 including three in a row. Under head coach Kyle Whittingham, Utah will show up.

Here’s Why Indiana Will Win The Foster Farms Bowl

The Utah secondary will give up yards. It’s a great defensive team overall, but the Utes have been absolutely lit up way too often, allowing 249 yards or more in eight of the last ten games. The interceptions are there to make up for the problems, but not lately with none in the last two games. IU hasn’t aired it out like it did last season, but QB Richard Lagow has a 496-yard day this year against Wake Forest – fine, it came attached for five interceptions – and is a proven 300-yard bomber.

Indiana has a run defense for the first time since – ever? Not to be too snarky, but that’s not far off. IU had a nice run D in 2009, but even then it was giving up over four yards per pop. This year’s defensive front has been a rock late in the year, allowing 225 rushing yards to Michigan, and fewer than 100 yards against everyone else in November. That leads to the saving grace this season …

Indiana is a brick wall on third downs. The offense isn’t as potent as it was in past seasons, but the D makes up for it by getting off the field. Teams are only converting 32% of their third down chances against the Hoosiers – which is partly due to the terrific play from the run defense forcing several third-and-longs. Utah, considering it has a fantastic back in Joe Williams to work with, should be better on third downs, and it’s just not.

Here’s Why Utah Will Win The Foster Farms Bowl

Okay, Joe Williams – do your thing. Yeah, the Indiana run defense has been outstanding this season, but that can’t matter to the Utah offensive front. This is one of the more physical offenses the Hoosiers have seen, and Williams has been one of the best backs in the country since coming off his “retirement” of four games. Rested, just assume he’ll hit the 100-yard mark without breathing too hard.

Indiana, meet Hunter Dimick. What Williams has been for the offense over the second half of the season, that’s what Dimick has been for the D with 14.5 sacks on the year and 9.5 sacks over the last five games. A relentless destroyer off the edge, he leads a defense that dominates behind the line. The Utes need to get into the backfield before the Hoosiers can get the O started, and that’s Dimick’s job.

Indiana can’t screw up – and it will. The Hoosiers have managed to win at times despite giving up turnovers over and over again. IU has turned it over a whopping 13 times in the four November games – but, oddly enough, none came against Michigan. Indiana is a -7 on the year in turnover margin; Utah is a +7, only losing the battle twice.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Foster Farms Bowl

Okay, enough. Problem One … This bowl has traditionally sucked. Even when it’s been okay, it’s been sort of dry. Nebraska got in on its APR last year and beat a lifeless UCLA, and before that, the previous three bowls were miserable blowouts. The problem is the Big Ten – it sends its also-ran of also-rans, which leads to …

Okay, enough. Problem Two. Indiana is an absolutely miserable bowl team. Just 3-7 lifetime starting with the 1967 Rose, it’s lost three straight and four of the last five going back to 1998. The last bowl win? 24-0 over Baylor in your 1991 Copper.

If you like punting … Utah’s Mitch Wishnowsky is worth the watch. The Utes lead the nation in punting average, with Wishnowsky averaging a whopping 48 yards per pop. Indiana’s punting game? Ehhhhh, it averages just 35.5 yards net, and the return game is mediocre. Utah should win the field position battle.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Foster Farms Bowl?

How is it remotely possible for Indiana to win this?

Nothing fits or works.

Utah has the pass rush. It has the Big Ten-style offense, the kicking game, and it has the talent to make this game an uggo early on. Yeah, the Utes lost four games, but all four were by seven points or fewer, with chances to win each of them.

Meanwhile, Indiana was the ultimate bum-slayer, with five of the six wins coming against the weak and the sad. The best victory this season? Maryland, and that was a fight at home.

It’s the bowl season, and IU might come up with something special, but to go with the known parts of the puzzle …

Final Score

Utah 31, Indiana 23

Line

Utah -7, o/u: 54

ATS Confidence: 4
5: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score in your favorite bar
0: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score after covering a College Football Playoff semifinal

Must See Rating: 2.5
5: New Year’s Eve: Defected In The House, Ministry of Sound, London
0: New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Special Co-Host Kathy Griffin

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Foster Farms Bowl History, Results

Dec. 26, 2015 Nebraska 37 UCLA 29
Dec. 30, 2014 Stanford 45 Maryland 21
Dec. 27, 2013 Washington 31 BYU 16
Dec. 29, 2012 Arizona State 62 Navy 28
Dec. 31, 2011 Illinois 20 UCLA 14
Jan. 9, 2010 Nevada 20 Boston College 13
Dec. 26, 2009 USC 24 Boston College 13
Dec. 27, 2008 California 24 Miami 17
Dec. 28, 2007 Oregon State 21 Maryland 14
Dec. 27, 2006 Florida State 44 UCLA 27
Dec. 29, 2005 Utah 38 Georgia Tech 10
Dec. 30, 2004 Navy 34 New Mexico 19
Dec. 31, 2003 Boston College 35 Colorado State 21
Dec. 31, 2002 Virginia Tech 20 Air Force 13

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