If you're a college football fan excited for bowl games, this week is for you as bowl mania kicks off on Tuesday with three bowl games including the 2023 First Responder Bowl.
Fittingly, since the game will be played in Texas, the First Responder Bowl features a pair of teams from Texas in Texas State (7-5) and Rice (6-6). JT Finley leads the way for the Bobcats who have one of the most explosive offenses in the FBS ranking 17th in scoring (36 ppg) and 14th in total yards. Rice is ranked 57th in yards allowed and 69th in scoring defense, however, Texas State ranks outside the top 100 in both categories, so the Owls should be able to score points too.
Ismail Mahdi is another name to know for Texas State going into the First Responder Bowl. He rushed for 1,209 yards this season. Ben Bell also wreaks havoc on defense for the Bobcats with eight sacks.
A.J. Padgett will get the start at quarterback for Rice. He had played well down the stretch and had three touchdown passes in a key win for the Owls over Florida Atlantic to reach the First Responder Bowl. Luke McCaffrey is another name to know. He had 12 receptions for 141 yards against Florida Atlantic while finishing the season with 68 receptions for 963 yards and 12 touchdowns.
First Responder Bowl odds
In terms of the odds, Texas State is a 3-point favorite according to DraftKings. The over/under is 60, while the money line is -166 for Texas State and +140 for Rice.
First Responder Bowl how to watch
- Date: Tuesday, December 26
- Time: 5:30 PM EST
- Venue: Gerald J. Ford Stadium (Dallas)
- How to Watch: ESPN
2023 First Responder Bowl prediction
I would definitely bet the over in this matchup. Both teams should move the ball and there should be plenty of passing yards from both quarterbacks. Finley did lead Texas State to a win over Baylor this season and the more dynamic quarterback will lead to an eighth win for Texas State.
Texas State 38, Rice 28