South Alabama vs WKU prediction, game preview, odds, how to watch. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Wednesday, December 21
South Alabama vs WKU R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Prediction Game Preview
South Alabama vs WKU How To Watch
Date: Wednesday, December 21
Game Time: 9:00 pm ET
Venue: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
How To Watch: ESPN
Record: South Alabama (10-2), WKU (8-5)
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South Alabama vs WKU R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl 5 Things To Know
– South Alabama might be the best Power Five team you didn’t pay any attention to this season. You probably didn’t notice it came this close to beating UCLA, and you probably didn’t notice that it was that 32-31 loss and a 10-6 battle with Troy away from being perfect. It didn’t exactly roll a slew of killers, but it has a solid offense, it controls the clock, and it brings one of the best run defenses in the country.
– WKU brings the fun. No, it doesn’t care about time of possession, and it’ll see your solid offense with a high-octane passing attack. It lost star QB Austin Reed to the transfer portal – he was supposedly headed to Louisville – but he changed his mind and came back. Here comes the offensive show.
– The Hilltoppers have played in eight FBS-level bowl games and won five of them. Head man Tyson Helton won two of his three – including the 2021 Boca Raton with a 59-38 explosion over Appalachian State.
– This is just the third bowl game for South Alabama and the first under head coach Kane Wommack. It’s a showcase moment for him and the program that lost its first two bowl tries and hasn’t been in one since losing to Air Force in the 2016 Arizona.
– The New Orleans Bowl always seems like it should be fun – the matchups are always strong – but the last five have been relative blowouts and seven of the last eight were decided by 13 or more. It’s been the Sun Belt’s world winning the last four.
Why South Alabama Will Win The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
How did South Alabama get it done this year?
It’s been a rock defensively, it doesn’t make a slew of mistakes or turnovers, and the ground game was one of the best in the nation. La’Damian Webb ran for over 1,000 yards and 13 scores, but he’s not alone in the rotation of runners including QB Carter Bradley.
Run well, rely on the defense, limit the turnovers – which, to be fair, come in bunches, but the team overcomes them. But against WKU it’s about holding up against a ton of midrange passes.
The Jaguars haven’t had too many problems surviving the games against teams that throw a ton. The wins haven’t been easy, but they can handle WKU thanks to a strong-tackling back-seven.
Why WKU Will Win The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Getting back Austin Reed changes the game.
He’s a veteran passer who’s been around the block as a big bomber for West Florida at the D-II level before fitting right in at WKU. The South Alabama defense might be terrific, but it’s about to get thrown on 50 times for at least 300 yards.
But it’s not just about Reed and the air show. The WKU offense can run well enough to mix it up, and the defense isn’t just along for the ride. It might have had a bumpy finish in a blowout loss to Auburn and a tough 32-31 fight with Florida Atlantic, but few teams in the country do more to take the ball away.
WKU’s defense is high-risk/high-reward. It can get run over, but it makes up for it with a ton of forced fumbles. It’ll give up big plays through the air, but it also generates a bunch of picks.
It’s just this simple. For all the good things the offense does, and as good as Reed is, WKU is 7-0 when coming up with two or more takeaways, and 1-5 when it doesn’t.