The SMU Mustangs needed to get past Tulsa in the season finale to just to become bowl eligible. That was no small feat since Tulsa was undefeated in league play at the time, and ultimately became the Conference USA champions.
Prior to that game, SMU has struggled all year with their offense being very inconsistent. Garrett Gilbert, a transfer from Texas, did not perform as thought. He was inconsistent and had just 14 touchdowns to 13 interceptions, however, he has thrown zero interceptions in his last five games.
As for Fresno State, they are the better team as they went 9-3 en route to winning a share of the Mountain West title. The strengths of Fresno State is their offense which is led by the trio of quarterback Derek Carr, running back Robbie Rouse and wide receiver Davante Adams.
Defensively, Fresno State is also very good and their best defensive player is cornerback Phillip Thomas who had eight interceptions, which led the country, and had three of those have been returned for touchdowns.
Game date and time
Monday Dec. 24, 7 p.m. CT
Aloha Stadium; Honolulu, Hawaii
Fresno State is favored by 12 points
Last year’s game
Southern Miss defeated Nevada 24-17
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