FOSTER FARMS BOWL STORYLINES
1. Stanford fell short of expectations this season, but the Cardinal finished on a high note with victories over California and UCLA. The late-season surge earned the Cardinal a berth in the Foster Farms Bowl in nearby Santa Clara, Calif., against Maryland, which enters as one of the bowl season’s biggest underdogs. The Terrapins are looking to bounce back from a demoralizing 41-38 loss to Rutgers in their regular-season finale.
2. Maryland star receiver Stefon Biggs is expected to play after missing a month with a lacerated kidney, and the Terrapins will need his explosiveness against Stanford, which ranks second in the nation in scoring defense at 16 points per game. Biggs finished second in the Big Ten in receptions per game (5.8) and was fourth with an average of 72.7 receiving yards. He’ll likely be matched up against Stanford cornerback Alex Carter, who is considered a top NFL prospect.
3. Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan struggled for much of the season before shining against Cal and UCLA. The 6-4 senior completed 31-of-39 passes for 448 yards and two scores over the two games and teamed with running back Remound Wright to finally spark an offense that averaged 13.4 points in its five losses. Wright rushed for a combined six touchdowns in his last two games.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Stanford -14
ABOUT MARYLAND (7-5, 4-4 Big Ten): The Terrapins recorded quality wins over Iowa and Penn State, but were also outscored 141-46 in losses to Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin. Maryland boasts the nation’s best kicker in Brad Craddock (18-of-19 in field goal attempts) and a dual-threat quarterback in C.J. Brown, who rushed for team bests of 569 yards and seven touchdowns, but threw nine interceptions. Maryland ranked 11th in the Big Ten in total defense, but defensive back William Likely has a team-high six interceptions and 5-11, 282-pound lineman Andre Monroe leads the team with 9.5 sacks.
ABOUT STANFORD (7-5, 5-4 Pac-12): The Terrapins face an uphill battle against Stanford’s stellar defense, which is led by lineman Henry Anderson (14 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks) and safety Jordan Richards, who had three interceptions. Wide receiver Ty Montgomery could miss the contest with a sprained shoulder, which could result in more opportunities for versatile freshman Christian McCaffrey, who saw his role increase late in the season. Left tackle Andrus Peat leads the offensive line, which could be tested by a Maryland defense that recorded 31 sacks.
PREDICTION: Stanford 34, Maryland 13