New Orleans Bowl: South Alabama (10-2) vs. Western Kentucky (8-5), Dec. 21, 8 p.m. Eastern (ESPN)
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK COLLEGE LINE: South Alabama by 4 1/2.
Series record: South Alabama leads 1-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
South Alabama is trying to win a bowl game for the first time in program history. The Jaguars have been to bowl games only twice previously, losing in 2014 and 2016. Western Kentucky aims for its 10th bowl victory. The Hilltoppers are competing in a bowl for the fourth straight season and 13th time overall.
WKU QB Austin Reed and a Hilltopper passing offense that averages 339 yards passing against a South Alabama defense that produced 12 interceptions this season, with Yam Banks picking off five passes.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Western Kentucky: Reed has thrown for 4,249 yards, second nationally, and 36 touchdowns while completing 64.5% of his passes.
South Alabama: RB La’Damian Webb has rushed for 1,014 yards and 13 touchdowns in 11 games and ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference with 92.3 yards per game.
FACTS & FIGURES
This is the first visit to the New Orleans Bowl for either team. ... Both teams come in averaging better than 31 points per game, with South Alabama at 31.9 and Western Kentucky at 35.9. ... South Alabama set school records this season for overall FBS wins with 10 and conference wins with seven, losing just two games by a combined 5 points and narrowly finishing behind Sun Belt Conference champion Troy. ... South Alabama won these teams' only other meeting, 31-24, in 2013, when both were in the Sun Belt Conference. Western moved to Conference USA in 2014. ... This is Western Kentucky's ninth bowl game since 2012. The Hilltoppers have gone 5-3 in the previous eight. ... Western Kentucky is trying to reach nine victories for a second straight season. ... Reed's top target this season has been Malachi Corley, who has 1,179 yards and nine TDs receiving this season.
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