Fresno State brings an eight-game winning streak to the LA Bowl while Washington State aims to end the season on a high note. Here’s what you need to know about the matchup.
Fresno State vs. Washington State.
Saturday, Dec. 17, 3:30 p.m. ET at SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, Calif.
ABC is airing the game.
It will be a fun back-and-forth game with Ward and Haener matching throws. Fresno State has the momentum. Prediction: Fresno State, 34-31 .
Scooby Axson: Washington State
Jace Evans: Washington State
Paul Myerberg: Washington State
Erick Smith: Fresno State
Eddie Timanus: Fresno State
Dan Wolken: Fresno State
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The first full season under Jake Dickert started on a high with a win at Wisconsin, but Washington State slumped with a three-game losing streak in the middle of the season and fell in the Apple Cup to rival Washington. Cameron Ward, a quarterback transfer from Incarnate Word, lived up to expectations. The lack of a running game puts a lot on his shoulders. Nakia Watson could help ease the burden. 
Only four teams – Georgia, Michigan, Texas-San Antonio and Troy – enter the postseason with a longer winning streak than Fresno State. The Bulldogs won their last eight games after a 1-4 start that coincided with them losing starting quarterback Jake Haener to an ankle injury in Week 3 against Southern Cal. Haener returned for the second half of the season and led Fresno State to the Mountain West title with a passing offense that averaged 269.8 yards per game, helped by Jalen Moreno-Cropper and Nikko Remigio, who combined for nearly 2,000 receiving yards. Playing a Pac-12 opponent will be something the Bulldogs welcome. They beat UCLA and narrowly lost to Oregon on the road last season and played Oregon State close at home. 
The senior opted out
of the LA Bowl, but will still travel with the team. Henley is first on the Cougars in tackles (106), tackles for loss (12) and second in sacks (4). He does a little bit of everything, which has him projected as a high NFL draft pick. 
If defenses get too focused on the Bulldogs throwing the ball, Mims is a dangerous runner who can cause problems. He totaled 1,161 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground and had five scores in their final two games. 
Fresno will be looking to finish off the season somewhere in the top 25 if it can pull off the win. A first-team, All-Mountain West selection, Perales led the conference with 10½ sacks and his ability to get after the quarterback will be important if the Bulldogs try to contain Cameron Ward. 
As Ward goes, so does Washington State on offense. His mobility gives defenses fits as he can extend plays and scramble for yards. Fresno State will be chasing him.
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