Foster Farms Bowl Pick

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Foster Farms Bowl

Nebraska

vs.

UCLA

12/26/15

The Foster Farms Bowl is quite the step down for UCLA, who at one point looked like a shoe-in to win the Pac-12’s South division. Instead, they’ll take on Nebraska in nearby San Francisco at Levi’s Stadium.  With the Cornhuskers having only five wins, the Bruins are a -6.5 point favorite at betonline Sportsbook.

UCLA won its first Four Games of the year and found itself ranked No. 7 in the AP Polls. That quickly faded with two straight losses (one to lowly Arizona State) and the rest of the season was hit or miss from there. The Bruins still had a chance to win the South in their final Game, but fell to USC 40-21. Expected by many to be at least a Top 25 team, finishing 8-4 overall and 5-4 in Conference play is a bit of a disappointment.

Last year, Stanford dominated Maryland in this bowl Game, but this one will be a bit different. Nebraska is better than that Maryland team and UCLA probably isn’t at the level Stanford was last year. The Cornhuskers obviously disappointed with a 5-7 record, but at times showed their strength. They battled with Wisconsin and Iowa, but their biggest Game of the year was a comeback 39-38 win over Michigan State (the Spartans only loss this season). Losses to Illinois and Purdue don’t look great, but the same can be said about UCLA and its home losses to ASU and WSU.

The Cornhuskers struggled mightily on the defensive end, even in their wins. The somewhat good news is that they have a Top 10 rush defense in the country (according to yards per Game). That will come in handy against UCLA’s Paul Perkins who has 1,275 yards and 13 TDs on the year. He’s been the driving force for this offense all season long, averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

That’s not to say true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen hasn’t been great, because he has. Rosen is slightly inconsistent and that could leave a window for Nebraska in this Game, even with one of the worst pass defenses in the country. In the last three Games of the year, Rosen struggled to complete passes and only had two total touchdowns to go with two interceptions in those outings. There were Games in which he was great, but also ones that he struggled in, which is normal for a freshman.

No matter, UCLA will Scoreplenty of points, which means Nebraska has to keep up on the scoreboard. The Bruins are decent on the defensive end, but this is by no means a dominant group, which is why they are only a touchdown favorite.

The Cornhuskers are led by quarterback Tommy Armstrong, who is coming off one of the worst Games of his career, throwing Four picks and zero touchdowns in an eight-point loss against Iowa. On the year, Armstrong has 21 TDs and 16 INTs, including nine picks in his last three Games. But to win this Game, Nebraska will need to get its ground Game going as UCLA’s weakness is defending the run.

Imani Cross has taken over at running back as of late, although he still hasn’t surpassed 100 yards as the starter. Whether it’s Cross, Terrell Newby or Armstrong getting the call, someone will need to break some big runs. If Nebraska can do that, they’ll be right in this Game.

These schools had a home-and-home series back in 2012 and 2013 with UCLA winning and covering in both contests.

The Bruins are 6-1 ATS in their last seven Games following an ATS loss, while the Cornhuskers are 8-1 ATS in their last nine Games on grass.

Our Pick – Nebraska +6.5

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