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PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: No. 5 Notre Dame vs No. 9 Oklahoma State Preview
The 2022 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl features the No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the No. 9 Oklahoma State Cowboys, two of the closest contenders for the college football playoff that ultimately fell just short.
The Irish went 11-1 this season and closed out their season in dominating fashion, though their easier schedule haunted them in the final rankings.
Oklahoma State was just behind at 11-2 and seemed primed for a top-four seed until they lost their conference championship game to #9 Baylor 21-16.
With both teams priding themselves on their intensity and playmaking, get ready for New Year’s Day fireworks.
Notre Dame recently made the switch at head coach to Marcus Freeman, following the departure of Brian Kelly for LSU. Freeman is relatively inexperienced and will be a first-time Head Coach at one of the most prestigious institutions in America. Still, he has the type of personality that seems to resonate with his players.
This year, ND’s only loss came to #7 Cincinnati, who beat them 24-13 in one of two games against ranked opponents. They closed out their campaign on a seven-game win streak, averaging 38.4 points per game over the same stretch.
Quarterback Jack Coan shook off a rough start to the season, finishing with 2,641 yards, 20 touchdowns, and six interceptions, while Kyren Williams led the running backs with 1,002 yards and 14 scores.
However, Williams has opted out of the bowl game, along with superstar safety Kyle Hamilton, leaving Isaiah Foskey and his ten sacks as the standout of the Irish defense.
On the other side, Oklahoma State’s 11-2 season featured wins over four ranked teams, some by way of their offense and others their defense.
They have playmakers on both sides of the football, a quality that traditional metrics cannot accurately measure.
Quarterback Spencer Sanders commands the offense, totaling 3,011 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 12 INTs. Jaylen Warren is the lead man in the backfield, boasting 1,134 yards and 11 trips past the pylons. Although they only scored 16 points their last time out, this unit can cause fireworks at any moment.
Defensively, Malcolm Rodriguez is the leading man with an astonishing 118 tackles, while Collin Oliver leads one of the nation’s best pass-rushing units with 11.5 sacks.
The Cowboys play fast and downhill and will bring the fight to Notre Dame, who is playing with a very young offensive line.
Notre Dame is a -2.5 (-110) favorite in the upcoming contest, while Oklahoma State is at +2.5 (-110); the Irish are also -135 on the Moneyline to OSU’s +115.
The points total has been set at 45.5 with (-110) odds on the over/under.
Notre Dame may be the favorite on paper, but the Cowboys are the better pick to come out on top in this year’s Fiesta Bowl. They have multiple players that can change the game, and although Marcus Freeman looks like an excellent up-and-coming coach, this is a challenging stage to be thrown into.
The key for the Cowboys will be limiting their mistakes. They have an explosive ability that their opponents do not, and they do not need to give them extra possessions.
Take OSU to steal a victory by a decent margin over the Irish.
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