Bowling Green Falcons (6-6, 5-3 MAC) vs. New Mexico State Aggies (6-6, FBS Independent)
Kickoff time: 2:30 PM ET (December 26, 2022)
Location: Ford Field - Detroit, MI
TV: ESPN: John Schriffen, Rene Ingoglia, Tera Talmadge
Online Stream: https://www.espn.com/watch/
According to DraftKings, Bowling Green is a three-point favorite with the over/under set at 48.5 points.*
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
In this year’s rendition of the Quick Lane Bowl, the New Mexico State Aggies and the Bowling Green Falcons face off for the first time ever.
In 2022, results for the Falcons have been wildly inconsistent. They lost a seven-OT game to FCS Eastern Kentucky, but also beat a very physical Marshall team and eventual MAC champion Toledo on the way to a 6-6 record.
The Falcons are led defensively by DE Karl Brooks, who was named a first-team All-American by Pro Football Focus. He is eighth in the nation with 10 sacks and ninth in the nation with 18 tackles for loss. Brooks was also named an All-American by PFN. The senior has picked a bit of NFL Draft buzz by generating 47 hurries and and an impressive 63 total pressures according to Pro Football Focus. As a team, Bowling Green has the eleventh-most sacks in the nation with 37.
Offensively, senior quarterback and Newport Beach, CA native Matt McDonald will likely be looking for Alabama A&M transfer Odieu Hiliare quite a bit. Hiliare leads the team in receiving yards with 54 catches for 704 yards and six touchdowns. Hiliare has a catch in 34-straight games, including his time at Alabama A&M. McDonald has thrown for 200+ yards in a game eight times this season
Head coach Jerry Kill and the Aggies started the season 0-4, but managed to get their feet under them in late September. The beat Hawaii and New Mexico before reaching the week of the San José State game, which was cancelled due to a death within the San José State program. They then grabbed wins against UMass and Lamar before losing to Missouri and then a big upset win over Liberty. NMSU then received a waiver from the NCAA that if they were to get to six wins, they would be bowl eligible even with two wins over an FCS opponent. NMSU was able to schedule an extra game against FCS Valparaiso, which they ended the season on with a 65-3 victory.
While NMSU has used several quarterbacks over the course of the season, junior Diego Pavia has been the main man under center in the last few contests. Pavia has completed 84 passes of 161 attempts for 1283 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Pavia has also proven to be a fairly effective dual-threat, when given the opportunity. He’s averaging 5.5 yards per carry with the second-highest rushing total on the team. Some credit also has to go to his offensive line, who have allowed a reasonable 15 sacks this season.
Defensively, New Mexico State’s strength in defending the pass. They’ve allowed 183.7 passing yards per game, which comes in at #15 in FBS for that stat. Keep an eye on defensive back Mehki Miller, who wears #20. Miller led the team in pass breakups this season after transferring in from Miami (OH). Bryce Jackson and Syrus Dumas also have two interceptions each for the Aggies.
New Mexico State have shown a lot of gradual improvement this season and ended the season on an upswing. Pair that with the inconsistency of Bowling Green this season, and it warrants an upset pick. New Mexico State wins 28-17.