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Holiday Bowl 2011: Last-Minute Position Previews and Prediction for Both Teams

Corbin WeaverContributor IIIDecember 28, 2011

Holiday Bowl 2011: Last-Minute Position Previews and Prediction for Both Teams

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    Tonight at 8pm EST Texas and Cal square off in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. Both teams come in with identical 7-5 records. However, Cal is coming off winning their last three out of four games while Texas only won one of their last four. 

    In this slideshow, we will take a look at each position for both teams to give us a preview of the game. 

Quarterbacks

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    This year for Texas, time has been split at quarterback. However it has become apparent that Case McCoy is the starter. This year McCoy has thrown for 1034 yards seven touchdowns and four interceptions. 

    For California, Zach Maynard has started every game this year. He has thrown for 2802 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. 

    For this bowl game, Maynard has the experience at the position and has had more experience in big games. 

    Advantage: Cal 

Running Backs

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    For Texas, their leading rusher is Malcolm Brown who comes into the game with 707 yards and five touchdowns. This Freshman certainly has the potential to damage over his career at Texas, but in this game, he will not. 

    For Cal, Isi Sofele comes into the game with 1270 yards and 9 touchdowns. This junior averages 5.5 yards per rush. I would expect Cal to run the ball early and often. 

    Advantage: Cal 

Wide Recivers

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    For Cal, the Bears have a 6'3" 205 pound monster at receiver who has caught 89 passes for 1261 yards and six touchdowns this season. Their second leading receiver is no slouch either. Marvin Jones has caught 54 passes for 758 yards and three touchdowns. 

    For Texas, the Longhorns have an explosive freshman in Jaxon Shipley who has caught 40 passes for 593 yards and three touchdowns. However, Shipley's stats suffer due to missed games this season. 

    Because Texas spreads the ball around to their receivers more than Cal, advantage goes to Texas. 

    Advantage: Texas

Offensive Line

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    The Bears have done a better job at protecting the quarterback this season. This year the Bear offensive line has given up 21 sacks compared to Texas offensive line who have given up 25 sacks. 

    In addition, the Bears offensive line has produced a 1200 yard rusher in Isi Sofele. 

    Advantage: Cal

Defensive Line

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    Texas has only allowed 1244 yards of rushing all season while the Cal Bears have allowed 1560 yards of rushing. 

    This could be because of the Big 12 pass first, pass second, run later mentality, however the statistic is still impressive. 

    Advantage: Texas

Linebackers

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    Cal is lead by Senior Linebacker, Mychal Kendricks. Kendricks has a total of 88 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions. In addition, Kendricks is the Pac-12 defensive player of the year. He averaged over eight tackles a game. If Cal is to stop the Longhorns rushing attack, Kendricks is going to have to step up. 

    Texas is lead by Senior Linebacker, Emmanuel Acho. Acho has 102 tackles and three sacks. He made AP Big 12 first team defense. 

    While the play of Kendricks is going to play a pivotal role if Cal is going to win, advantage goes to Texas. 

    Advantage: Texas

Defensive Backs

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    Texas is lead by Carrington Byndom who has 42 tackles and two interceptions this year. Byndom made first team all Big 12 this year. In total, the Longhorns have intercepted 11 passes this year.  

    For Cal, they are lead by Sean Cattouse. Cattouse has 63 tackles, one sack and two interceptions. He was an honorable mention in the all-conference voting. In total, the Bears have intercepted 12 passes this season. 

    Advantage: Texas

Special Teams

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    For Texas, Justin Tucker has made 85% of his field goals this season and has not missed an extra point. In total he has 92 points on the year and his season-long is 52 yards. 

    For Cal, Girgio Tavecchio has made 86.4% of his field goals and his longest is 54. He also has scored 92 points this year but has missed six extra points. 

    Tavecchio has made more field goals and has a longer range. If the Bears need him, he will step up to the occasion. 

    Advantage: Cal

Prediction

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    This year's Holiday Bowl will certainly be a good one. Many argue if Texas can win, they can salvage their season and propel themselves into next year. 

    Defensively the Longhorns are no match for the Golden Bears, however Cal can certainly run the ball. This game will certainly be a close one. 

    Prediction: Texas wins. 24-21

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