Why to watch: It’s the first bowl game of the year, and it’ll determine the de facto HBCU national champion.
Whom to watch: North Carolina A&T defensive end Darryl Johnson became the first Aggies participant since 1997 to be called MEAC Defensive Player of the Year. He leads the MEAC with 10.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss. His strip sack clinched the Aggies’ 20-17 upset of Jacksonville State, and he had seven tackles and one sack at a 28-23 win over FBS foe East Carolina.
Motivating variable for North Carolina A&T: The Aggies can win their second straight HBCU nationwide title. They defeated Grambling 21-14 in the Celebration Bowl at 2017.
Motivating factor for Alcorn State: The Braves are looking for their first HBCU national championship because 2014 and their first under coach Fred McNair, the brother of former Alcorn State and NFL quarterback Steve McNair.
Prediction: North Carolina A&T 27, Alcorn State 24
Score: North Carolina A&T 24, Alcorn State 22 New Mexico Bowl Presented by Progressive: North Texas vs. Utah State (Branch Field at Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Why to watch: It might have been a matchup of two of the hottest coaches in the Form of 5: North Texas’ Seth Littrell vs. Utah State’s Matt Wells. But Wells left for Texas Tech, and interim coach Frank Maile will lead the Aggies in their seventh bowl in eight seasons.
Whom to see: Utah State quarterback Jordan Love completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 3,208 yards, 28 touchdowns and 5 interceptions while operating for six more scores.
Motivating factor for North Texas: The Mean Green can win 10 games for the first time in school history and acquire their first bowl game because 2013.
Motivating factor for Utah State: The Aggies will try to maintain their high-scoring offense going without Wells. They averaged 47.2 points per match, which was third in the FBS and shirts among Team of 5 programs.
Prediction: Utah State 42, North Texas 31
Score: Utah State 52, North Texas 13
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