Valero Alamo Bowl Preview





(9-3, 5-3 Big Ten)
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VALERO ALAMO BOWL
NORTHWESTERN vs. Kansas
Monday, December 29, 2008
Alamo Dome - San Antonio, Texas
7 p.m. CT - ESPN

Inside the Series:
Tied, 4-4 | Last Meeting: 1987, Missouri, 28-3



(9-4, 5-3 Big 12)
Website
Roster | Stats

NU
 
MIZZ
 
Scoring
24.5
Pts./ Game
43.2
19.3
Pts. Allowed/ Game
27.5
28:11
Time of Possession
26:15
Rushing
147.6
Yds/Game
157.1
127.7
Yds Allowed/ Game
128.9
15
TDs
28

Passing
209.4
Yds/ Game
340.4
215.3
Yds Allowed/ Game
285.3
252-415
Completions/Attempts
337-521
60.7
Completion %
73.4
17/7
TDs/ INTs

39/15
Turnovers
22
Takeaways
21
27
Giveaways
23

SPEED READ
Northwestern (9-3, 5-3) will return to bowl action with a trip to the Valero Alamo Bowl after narrowly missing a berth last season with a 6-6 mark. The Wildcats will battle the Big 12's Missouri (9-4, 5-3 Big 12) on Monday, Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. ET in San Antonio, Texas. Northwestern will play in the Alamo Bowl for the second time after facing Nebraska in 2000. After making only one bowl trip in its first century of college football, the program will be appearing in its sixth bowl since the 1995 season. The recent bowl run was sparked by current head coach Pat Fitzgerald, who led the Wildcats to the 1996 Rose Bowl on his way to winning the Nagurski Award as the nation's top defensive player. Northwestern is 1-5 in bowl games, as the program looks for its first postseason win since the 1949 Rose Bowl. The Big Ten has produced an 8-6 record in the Valero Alamo Bowl, including recent triumphs by Penn State (2007) and Ohio State (2004).

The game will mark Missouri's fourth-consecutive bowl game, and fifth bowl appearance in the last six seasons overall under head coach Gary Pinkel.  Prior to Pinkel’s arrival, Mizzou had gone to only two bowl games in a span of 19 seasons dating from 1984-2002. The only other time in school history that MU played in four consecutive bowl games was when the Tigers had four straight appearances from 1978-81. The Alamo Bowl appearance will be Mizzou's 26th bowl game, with MU holding an 11-14 mark in its previous 25 outings.

The Tigers and Wildcats have played eight times previously, with the series split evenly at four wins apiece. The last meeting was a 28-3 Missouri win in Columbia in 1987, which was preceded by an NU 27-23 victory in Columbia in 1985. Prior to that, the schools met randomly six times between 1895 and 1967.

SCOUTING REPORT
When critics break down the two quarterbacks competing in the 2008 Valero Alamo Bowl, the majority of them will most likely begin by talking about Missouri’s Chase Daniel.  But those who step back and compare the two teams as a whole, Northwestern’s C.J. Bacher might just have the edge.  Bacher is entering the game having just eclipsed 7,000 career passing yards in the regular-season finale and now squares up against a Tiger defense that has been plagued by injuries and ranked almost dead last in the country with 285.3 passing yards allowed each game.  Mizzou cornerback Castine Bridges is out with a knee injury and safety William Moore injured his ribs during the Big 12 Championship contest.  Bacher might have to open the airwaves and find Ross Lane, who is six yards shy of 2,000 career receiving yards, and Eric Peterman, who set single-game season-bests with eight catches and 111 receiving yards in the finale against Illinois.  And although the Tiger secondary is hurting, Bacher will have to focus on consistency as he has thrown 33 TDs and 33 INTs in the last two years.  Injuries have hampered the Wildcats as well and standout tailback Tyrell Sutton has spent the break rehabbing a broken wrist, but expect him to be ready in his final college game.  NU averaged 24.5 points per game this season, while Missouri allowed 27.5 each outing and 45.6 when playing against a ranked opponent.

On the other side of the ball, Missouri’s offense put up an average of 43.2 points this year, which ranked sixth in the country, while the Wildcats ranked 23rd in scoring defense at 19.3.  NU will have to stop the potent passing combo of Daniel and Jeremy Maclin.  Daniel threw for over 4,000 yards and totaled 37 TDs this season.  He averages 318.1 passing yards per game, but has also thrown a Big 12-high 15 interceptions on the season with several coming in the late stages of the game.  Maclin is third in Big 12 receptions (7.31) and fourth in yardage (93.9) per game.  The Tigers’ 340.4 yards of passing offense is fourth in the country, while the 497.5 yards of total offense rates sixth.  Tailback Derrick Washington averages 76.3 yards on the ground and is just eight yards shy of 1,000 for the season.  Northwestern was eighth in the Big Ten this season in pass defense (215.3) and was fifth overall allowing 343.0 total yards per game.  While Missouri’s line ranked 14th in the nation with 1.15 sacks allowed each game, the Wildcats paced the conference with 33 sacks on the year – an average of 2.75 per game, which rated 13th-best in the country.  Junior DE Corey Wootton had 9.0 sacks and 15.0 TFLs on the year, while junior safety Brad Phillips led the team and ranked fifth in the league with 8.4 tackles per game.  Senior linebacker Prince Kwateng was ninth in the conference at 7.8.