Five things to know about the MAACO Bowl pitting No 19 Utah against No. 10 Boise State at 8 ET in Last Vegas on ESPN:
1) This is the only game between top-20 teams before January 1, and one of just four matchups of ranked teams in non-BCS games. The next one, between No. 20 South Carolina and No. 23 Florida State isn't until December 31.
2) Utah has won nine consecutive bowl games, the longest active streak in the nation. The streak is two shy of the all-time record set by Florida State from 1985 to 1995. No other team entered this time of year with a bowl win streak of more than four games. The Utes are 12-3 in bowl games. Their .800 postseason winning percentage is the best in the nation among schools with at least 10 bowl appearances. However, Utah is 0-3 all-time against Boise State.
3) Kellen Moore, now 37-2 as starting quarterback at Boise State, has thrown 72 touchdowns and just eight interceptions over the last two seasons. His 9-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio is the best in the country in that time by a significant margin. Andrew Luck rates second-best at 3.7-to-1.
Receiving TD Inside the Red Zone
FBS Leaders, Since 2009
4) Once in the red zone, Moore's favorite target is Austin Pettis. Moore has targeted Pettis on more than one-third of this red-zone throws over the last two seasons. Pettis has more receiving touchdowns from within the red zone (21) than other player in the FBS over the last two seasons.
5) Utah’s Shaky Smithson averages 19.7 yards per punt return, which, along with his 10 returns of at least 20 yards, rates best in the nation. Smithson has brought two punts back for touchdowns this season. Boise State allowed a 54-yard punt return touchdown to James Rodgers of Oregon State on September 25, but in its last four games has allowed only 19 yards on six punt returns.