Holiday Bowl Key Match up
Posted on: December 16, 2011 3:38 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
A look at the key matchup that could decide the Holiday Bowl
Texas running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron versus California linebacker Mychal Kendricks
There are plenty of match ups to watch for in this game but Texas' two running backs against the Pac-12 defensive player of the year should be a focus if you're watching at home. Both Brown (turf toe, knee) and Bergeron (hamstring) have been hurt and missed time during the second half of the season but have been practicing and should be full strength for the bowl game.
They're going to need to be 100% against Kendricks. The heart and soul of the Bears' defense, Kendricks was a big reason why the team was solid on that side of the ball despite having to replace several contributors. He averaged eight tackles a game and was third in the conference in tackles for loss at over one per game. His pass defense is pretty good too despite being a bit undersized at 6-foot, 240-pounds and learning the inside linebacker position this season after a few years on the outside.
Highly touted out of high school, Brown took most of the rushing load this season for the Longhorns and finished 7th in the Big 12 in yards. Bergeron was more of a surprise but did just as well, if not better, with fewer carries. The loss of Fozzy Whittaker put even more on the two freshmen and with both battling injuries, was a big factor in the offense slowing down.
Texas needs the ground game to be effective to take pressure off of their so-so quarterbacks and the Longhorns need Brown and Bergeron to be healthy and productive if they want a chance to win. They'll be squaring off against a great, experienced linebacker in Kendricks however. Should be a fun match up to watch.
You can read our complete Holiday Bowl preview here.