WVU Secures Guaranteed Rate Bowl

wvu secures guaranteed rate bowl
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WVU Secures Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Despite some rumblings last week about technicalities concerning West Virginia’s win over LIU earlier this season, the Mountaineers clinched a bowl berth with their win over Kansas. We previously wrote that West Virginia’s bowl destination came down to the Liberty Bowl (if the Big 12 sent a representative to the College Football Playoff) or the Guaranteed Rate Bowl (if they did not). After Baylor’s upset win over the Cowboys last night, the Guaranteed Rate Bowl seemed all but certain. Earlier today, we received confirmation. WVU secures Guaranteed Rate Bowl berth against Minnesota.

Game Details

The Guaranteed Rate Bowl kicks off at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. Kickoff occurs at 10:15 p.m. eastern on December 28. ESPN will televise the matchup. Unfortunately, the late kickoff means that the game will conclude sometime between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. eastern. For those working the week between Christmas and New Year’s (we assume that means most fans), the following Wednesday might be a little challenging.

Reviewing the Opponent

We will offer more thoughts in our bowl preview to come in a couple weeks. That said, we would be remiss not to offer a few opponent details now that the matchup is known. The Guaranteed Rate Bowl presents two opponents who are completely unfamiliar with each other. Indeed, Minnesota and West Virginia have never played against each other.

Minnesota offers WVU a stiff test, as the Golden Gophers play a punishing, physical brand of football. Both the offensive and defensive lines will face tough tests. That said, after their 11-2 season in 2019, Minnesota has regressed to its mean, winning three games last season and going 8-4 this season. The Golden Gophers ended their season with a two-game win streak and a win over 18th-ranked Wisconsin. They won their only out-of-conference game against a Power 5 team, thoroughly controlling Colorado 30-0.

While Minnesota doesn’t present the stiffest offensive test (they average just 26.1 points per game, good for 84th in the country), they use their run-first offense to control the clock. As a result, their defense surrenders just 18.2 points per game (good for 10th in the country).