Cactus Bowl Game Preview

By EFN Staff
Published: 01/01/2016

West Virginia Mountaineers (7-5) vs. Arizona State Sun Devils (6-6)

Bowl Game: Cactus Bowl
Kickoff Time: January 2, 10:15 PM
Location: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona

The streaky West Virginia Mountaineers finished 7-5 and had winning and losing runs of four games at different points of the season. The Arizona State Sun Devils qualified for a bowl game for the fifth consecutive season despite defensive struggles, giving up at least 34 points in all six of their defeats this season. 

Players to watch

  • Big-play Mountaineers wide receiver Shelton Gibson averages 22.4 yards per reception. He finished with 744 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
  • Sun Devils quarterback Mike Bercovici has thrown for 3,442 yards and 26 touchdowns this season, and is second on the team with six rushing scores.

Key Stats

  • The teams have met only once before, with Arizona State winning 42-7 in Tempe in 1979.
  • Arizona State is 2-1 in bowl games under Todd Graham, and has an overall record of 14-13-1.
  • The Mountaineers have allowed only nine rushing touchdowns this season, sixth-fewest in the FBS.
  • The Sun Devils rank 97th in scoring defense, allowing 32.1 points per game.
  • West Virginia is 14-19 all-time in bowl games, and is looking for its first win since the 2011 Orange Bowl.
  • Arizona State is tied for second in the FBS with 44 sacks this season, behind only Alabama.
  • West Virginia has created 31 turnovers this season, and is plus-11 in turnover margin.
  • Mountaineers running back Wendell Smallwood ranks 13th in the FBS with 1,447 yards and has nine touchdowns this season.