Foster Farms Bowl
The Foster Farms Bowl looks more like a basketball matchup than anything. Purdue hasn’t been to a bowl in five years while Arizona can never get over the hump of being mediocre. The Pac-12 has had the edge in this bowl, winning Four of the last five Games with Nebraska being the Big Ten’s only win in that period. The Wildcats, considered the de facto home team for a Game in San Francisco, were early -3.5 point favorites at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
This Game should feature a ton of points and if not, it will be a disappointment. Arizona comes in giving up more than 34 points per Game and losing three of its last Four. Kahlil Tate made this offense electric a few Games into the season, but he can’t help the defense. As for Purdue, it’s been more of a balanced effort with the defense stepping up late in the season, namely the road win at Iowa. But while the Boilermakers only allow 19.3 points per Game, a lot of that has to do with playing in the Big Ten. The last time they saw a team that scores and plays like Arizona was the opener in a 35-28 loss to Louisville.
With Arizona’s defense allowing more than 460 yards per Game, the first spot to look at is Purdue’s offense. Head coach Jeff Brohm has turned the team around in all phases and that includes the offense, even if it slowed down later in the season. Sophomore Elijah Sindelar has the quarterback job all to himself with David Blough out. Sindelar was competent in the final three Games, tossing seven touchdowns and only one pick. It’s possible he could have a huge Game against this defense, no matter what Markell Jones and D.J. Knox (questionable with thumb injury) do in the running Game. The Wildcats are bad in every facet, so Purdue can attack any way it wants and with a full month to prepare, Brohm will have his offense ready.
The question will be if Purdue’s defense can do anything against Arizona’s offense. The Boilers have been worse against the pass, giving up more than 235 passing yards per Game, but they at least have the experience of facing a dynamic talent at quarterback when they played LAmar Jackson. Sure, Jackson did whatever he wanted in that Game (378 passing yards, 107 rushing), but this defense has come a long way since then. And while Tate has led the Arizona offense to more than 40 points per Game, things have slowed down with just 58 points in the final two Games against beatable defenses (Oregon, ASU).
Despite fully playing in eight Games, Tate has 1,353 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 10.2 yards per carry. He’s also potent through the air, although lacks consistency as expected with eight interceptions. The big thing is that he only ran for 60 yards in those final two Games with a lot of that because of a shoulder injury. But if Purdue can build off those two performances against Tate, that could be huge in winning this Game. Arizona also has two solid running backs to turn to with J.J. Taylor and Nick Wilson so it’s not just Tate that can beat defenses. The Boilers allowed just 3.6 yards per carry for the season and that will be something that gets tested.
The Wildcats are 8-18 ATS in their last 26 Games overall and 1-5 ATS in their last six bowl Games. The Boilermakers are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five against the Pac-12 and also 1-5 ATS in their last six bowl Games.
Our Pick – Purdue +3