SHERATON HAWAII BOWL STORYLINES
1. After turning Boise State into a BCS buster, Chris Petersen left to become the new coach in Washington. Although the school announced the hiring of former Broncos assistant and Arkansas State coach Bryan Harsin to replace Petersen next season, linebackers coach Bob Gregory will lead the team in Honolulu on Dec. 24 against Oregon State in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Boise State went 92-12 and won a pair of BCS bowl games in eight seasons under Peterson.
2. Sean Mannion (4,403 passing yards, 2nd nationally) and Brandin Cooks (Pac-12 record 120 receptions for an FBS-high 1,670 receiving yards) make the Beavers exciting to watch. Oregon State averaged 43.8 points during a six-game win streak, but has seen that mark fall to 21 per game during its five-game skid.
3. Boise State has won four straight bowl games, but failed to reach the 10-win mark for the first time since 2005 – the year before Petersen took over. Oregon State is 5-2 in the postseason under coach Mike Riley, but has dropped two straight since defeating Pittsburgh in the 2008 Sun Bowl.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Oregon State -2.5
ABOUT BOISE STATE (8-4, 6-2 Mountain West): Quarterback Joe Southwick, who missed four games with a broken ankle, returned to start in the regular-season finale but was pulled after throwing for a touchdown on the opening drive. Grant Hedrick, who stepped up with 15 TD passes and five interceptions in Southwick’s absence, went the rest of the way for Boise State – leaving the identity of the starting quarterback in some doubt. The Broncos rank 93rd in pass defense, making the Beavers a less-than-ideal matchup.
ABOUT OREGON STATE (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12): Mannion averaged 427.4 yards passing and 4.1 touchdowns during the Beavers’ 6-1 start, but has seen those numbers drop to 282.2 and 1.4 during the losing streak. One positive to come out of the team’s Nov. 29 setback against Oregon was the success of the FBS’ 120th-ranked rushing attack, which generated 231 yards – nearly double the team’s previous season high. “It’s a picture of who we want to be and what we’re going to shoot for, both in a bowl game and next year,” Riley said about his team’s balanced 545-yard effort.
PREDICTION: Oregon State 45, Boise State 41