AccuScore has run more than 10,000 simulations for every bowl game for Yahoo! Sports, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions, opponent's abilities, roster moves, weather and more. Each game is simulated one play at a time and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages, player statistics and a variety of game-changing scenarios. Here's AccuScore.com's analysis of the International Bowl.
Baseline: Rutgers 66%, Ball State 34%; Score: Rutgers 35, Ball State 28
The only bowl game played north of the border will feature teams from the MAC and the Big East. Rutgers had bigger aspirations than the International Bowl, but here it is and the Knights are projected to win 66 percent of simulations by a touchdown on average. Quarterback Mike Teel is projected for 250 yards passing and a score. Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood are combining for nine catches and 155 yards receiving per simulation. Running back Ray Rice is forecasted for 130 yards and almost two touchdowns in what could be the final game of his college career.
Ball State will be led by quarterback Nate Davis, who is forecasted for 270 yards passing and two touchdowns while rushing for 40 yards. Receivers Dante Love and Darius Hill will be his main targets as they are forecasted to combine for 11 catches and 165 yards. Running back Frank Edmonds is projected to rush for 75 yards but average less than four yards per carry for the Cardinals. The Ball State defense is giving up points, but it is forcing more than twice as many turnovers than Rutgers. That would be a huge factor in pulling off an upset.
Stopping Ray Rice
Over the past three seasons, Ray Rice has elevated the Rutgers program with his sensational play. He has racked up 4,646 yards in his career and 45 touchdowns. If you want to beat Rutgers, then you must stop Rice. AccuScore wanted to see exactly how well Ball State would have to defend Rice and the Knights' running game to gain an edge in the overall winning percentage.
It must be noted that, statistically, Ball State does not have a good track record against elite rushing attacks. Illinois' Rashard Mendenhall rushed 28 times for 189 yards and two touchdowns and Navy amassed a whopping 521 on the ground against Ball State.
To have a real chance at getting the upset victory, Ball State must cut Rice's ability to convert on short yardage and goal-line runs for first downs and scores by half. Roughly one in every five carries for Rice is going for eight yards or more. Ball State needs to cut this to down to one in 10.
In this defensive scenario the Cardinals would be able to hold Rice to 94 yards and just one rushing touchdown. This represents a decrease of nearly 40 yards and one touchdown from the baseline simulation. In this scenario, Ball State has a 50-percent chance of winning.
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