2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl Matchup
Houston’s Reliant Stadium has been witness to some winning football
in recent years as the home of the Houston Texans. This New Year’s Eve,
it will bear witness to a couple of college football teams looking to
end their seasons on winning notes.
Northwestern, of the Big Ten conference, will face Texas A&M, out
of the Big 12, in what amounts to a near-home game for the Aggies.
These two teams have never met on the football field.
The latest Meineke Car Care Bowl odds list Texas A&M as a 9.5-point favorite, while the total has been posted at 65 points.
The Aggies are probably the best 6-6 team in the country, but after
starting 5-2, the loss of four of their last five games ended up costing
head coach Mike Sherman his job. Of their six losses, five of those
games were decided by four points or less. A&M finished 2-3 in road
games this season and 5-4 when playing in their home state.
Texas A&M fields one of the better offenses in the nation, in
fact they are ranked 11th in the country in points scored (40 points per
game) while compiling 497 yards per game (288 passing, 209 rushing).
Ryan Tannehill has completed 6 1percent of his passes for 3,415 yards
and 28 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. The offensive line has allowed
just eight sacks.
Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael lead the running game with 1,944
combined rush yards and 20 TDs on 5.6 yards per carry, while Ryan Swope
is the top receiving threat with 81 catches for 1,102 yards and 11
While the offense has impressed, the Aggies have struggled on
defense, ranking 76th in the nation in points allowed (29 ppg) and
surrender 386 yards per game (280 passing, 106 rushing) while recording
43 sacks and posting 15 turnovers with one returned for a TD (Terrence
Jonathan Stewart leads this unit with 89 total tackles, adding two
sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery, while Sean Porter has 8.5
sacks, 73 tackles, a forced fumble and recovery. Damontre Moore has
three forced fumbles, 63 tackles, 7.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.
Northwestern limped out to a 2-5 start to the season, but came on
strong late with four-straight wins, including a huge upset at Nebraska.
The Wildcats earned a 3-3 record on the road this season.
On offense, the Wildcats rank 51st nationally in points scored (29
ppg) while compiling 433 yards per game (257 passing, 176 rushing). Dan
Persa completes 74 percent of his passes for 2,163 yards and 17
touchdowns with seven INTs. The offensive line has given up 34 sacks.
Jeremy Ebert leads the receiving corps with 71 receptions (28 more
than anyone else) for 1,025 yards and 11 TDs, while Kain Colter and
Jacob Schmidt anchor the running game with a combined 1,054 yards and 14
TDs on 4.8 yards per carry.
The Wildcats rank 67th nationally in scoring defense (27 ppg) and
give up 408 yards per game (222 passing, 186 rushing) while recording 16
sacks and forcing 19 turnovers.
Ibraheim Campbell leads the unit with 89 tackles, adding two picks
and a fumble recovery, while Brian Peters has 85 stops to go with four
picks, two forced fumbles, a fumbler recovery and a sack. Tyler Scott
has three fumble recoveries, 29 tackles, a sack and an interception.