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Liberty Bowl: What bettors need to know

Iowa State vs. Tulsa (1, 51)

When: 3:30 PM ET, Monday, December 31, 2012
Where: Liberty Bowl Memorial, Memphis, Tennessee

AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL STORYLINES

1. Tulsa and Iowa State will end their seasons the same way they began four months ago - playing each other. The Cyclones beat Tulsa 38-23 in the season opener on Sept. 1 behind three touchdowns from senior quarterback Steele Jantz. It is the second time the Golden Hurricanes are playing a rematch this season. Tulsa beat Central Florida twice in a two-week span, including the Conference USA title game, to earn the bowl berth.

2. The Cyclones used three starting quarterbacks this season and redshirt freshman Sam Richardson will likely start the Liberty Bowl. Richardson came off the bench to throw four touchdowns in the 51-23 victory against Kansas in Week 12 that gave Iowa State its sixth win. Jantz and sophomore Jared Barnett combined for 19 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

3. Tulsa is ranked 11th in the country in rushing, averaging 240.2 yards. Most of the yardage is divided up between juniors Trey Watts and Ja'Terian Douglas and senior Alex Singleton, although Singleton has scored 21 of the team's 37 rushing touchdowns. Watts and Douglas average six yards per carry.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.

LINE: This game opened as a pick at some shops and now Iowa State is a 1.5-point favorite at some offshores.

CONSENSUS: Nearly 53 percent of Covers Consensus players like Iowa State to cover while 60 percent are on the over.

WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the low-40s with a 75 percent of rain. Winds will blow out of the south at 5 mph.

TRENDS:

* Under is 3-0-1 in Cyclones’ last four Bowl games.
* Under is 5-1 in Tulsa’s last six Bowl games.
* Tulsa is 4-1 ATS in its last five games overall.
* Cyclones are 0-3-1 ATS in their last four vs. a team with a winning record.

ABOUT IOWA STATE (6-6, 3-6 Big 12):
Richardson didn't attempt a pass until the Kansas game and is 36-of-80 for 412 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions in less than two full games. Richardson rushed for 119 yards in a 31-24 loss to West Virginia in the regular-season finale. That was the Cyclones' second 100-yard performance of the season. Junior Shontrelle Johnson picked up the other with 120 yards against Tulsa. Johnson leads the team with 504 rushing yards and two touchdowns and James White adds 469 yards and two scores. All-Big 12 linebacker A.J. Klein (98 tackles) leads the Cyclones' defense that is allowing 23.2 points. The Cyclones have forced 25 turnovers, including Durrell Givens' FBS-leading six fumble recoveries.

ABOUT TULSA (10-3, 7-1 C-USA): The Hurricane are looking for the second 11-win season in school history. Watts had a 54-yard punt return that tied the C-USA title game in the fourth quarter and Singleton scored the winner with a 1-yard plunge in the 33-27 overtime victory. Watts, named the championship game's MVP after a 134-yard performance, leads the team with 959 yards on 161 carries. He rushed for 125 yards against Iowa State in the season opener. Junior quarterback Cody Green went 217-of-396 for 2,499 yards, 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Sophomore Keyarris Garrett (64 catches, 826 yards, nine touchdowns) is his favorite target. The Hurricane allow 24.2 points and 353.9 yards.

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