No. 17 Oregon State favored over Florida in Las Vegas Bowl
Las Vegas Bowl: Florida (6-6) vs. No. 17 Oregon State (9-3), Saturday, 2:30 p.m. EST (ESPN)
FanDuel Sportsbook College Line: Oregon State by 10 1/2.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The Beavers hope to achieve the third 10-win season in program history. Oregon State also won double-digit games in 2000 and 2006. Florida hopes to avoid its second losing season in a row. The Gators are 10-5 in bowls going back to 2006.
Florida RBs RB Montrell Johnson Jr. and Trevor Etienne vs. Oregon State’s front seven. Especially with the Gators starting backup QB Jack Miller, they will need to establish a strong running game. Both backs average at least 5.7 yards a carry, and they have combined to run for 16 touchdowns. Oregon State is 20th nationally against the run, allowing 114 yards a game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Florida: QB Jack Miller. He was thrown into the starting lineup for this game after Anthony Richardson left to prepare for the NFL draft and No. 2 Jalen Kitna was arrested on child-pornography charges. Miller is a touted Ohio State transfer who was supposed to be Richardson’s backup, but reportedly broke his thumb in preseason.
Oregon State: RB Damien Martinez. He was selected Pac-12 Conference offensive freshman of the year after rushing for 970 yards. Martinez has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of his past six games. Florida is 101th against the run (176.2-per-game average), and Martinez has the potential for a big day.
FACTS & FIGURES
This is the first scheduled appearance for a Southeastern Conference team in the Las Vegas Bowl. Arkansas played UNLV in the 2000 game, but the Razorbacks were an at-large selection. ... The Gators have never played in Nevada, and Oregon State has never played a team from the state of Florida. ... Oregon State is 1-1 in the Las Vegas Bowl. ... The Beavers’ 55-14 victory over New Mexico in 2003 is the largest margin of victory in the Las Vegas Bowl. ... Oregon State played in last year’s Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl, but that was the first postseason appearance since the 2013 season. ... Florida is making its fifth bowl appearance in a row. ... The officiating crew will be from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
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