College Football

Cactus Bowl: Kansas State Wildcats (7-5) vs UCLA Bruins (6-6)


The biggest news coming out of Phoenix is not from action on Chase Field.

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen will not play in Tuesday’s game, having suffered his second concussion of the season in the last regular season game against Cal. Rosen, will not clear concussion protocol before the start of the game. Rosen will be missed by the Bruins. The junior quarterback has thrown for 3,317 yards and 26 touchdowns, completing 62.5 percent of his passes. Redshirt freshman Devon Modster will start at quarterback.

A developing subplot involving Rosen is his protentional NFL draft prospects. Rosen has considered leaving UCLA for the upcoming NFL draft. However, he has voiced his concerns of being picked by the Cleveland Browns, who at 0-15 has secured the number one draft pick. In recent interviews, Rosen said he will discuss his options with his family after the Cactus Bowl.

Rosen must also think about playing his senior year under incoming head coach Chip Kelly, who is replacing former Bruin head coach Jim Mora. Long considered an offensive genius, Kelly led the Oregon Ducks to several bowl games between 2009-2012, including the 2010 BCS National Championship game. The Bruins, on the other hand, have not won a conference championship since 1998, when a gallon of gas was $1.15. UCLA has been coached by offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch since Mora’s firing in November.

Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder will coach his 19th bowl game of his Hall of Fame career. The Wildcats won their last four of five games after suffering three consecutive midseason losses. K-State will ride the hot hand of redshirt freshman quarterback Skylar Thompson. Thompson is the third quarterback Snyder has used this season, starting the last three games of the year. Thompson is considered a double-threat, having rushed for 158 yards to complement his 515 yards passing.

The biggest receiving target for Thompson is junior wide-out Byron Pringle. Pringle leads the nation in yards per reception, having gained 705 yards on 28 catches. He has also scored six touchdowns.

The winner of this game will depend upon the composure of both schools’ redshirt freshman quarterbacks and which team that does not give up the big offensive play.