CEDRICK WILSON, WIDE RECEIVER
Likely to be one of Boise State’s key playmakers next season as a senior with Jeremy McNichols headed to the NFL, Wilson has made quite the impact in his first season since transferring from junior college. His 20.8 yards per catch are No. 9 in the FBS, and none of the eight above him have more than his 50 receptions, 1,041 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“Ced’s a great asset to the whole offense,” senior receiver Thomas Sperbeck said. “He’s a huge deep threat for us, and that opens up our run game; it opens me up. Obviously he does a great job of catching the ball, no matter what situation he’s in. Without him, it’s a lot less yards.”
TRAVIS AVERILL, GUARD
A first-team All-Mountain West selection, Averill will start his 37th consecutive game in the Cactus Bowl for the Broncos. He’s built a strong bond with the Broncos’ two other senior starters on the line — Mario Yakoo and Steven Baggett will be in his wedding this summer.
“He’s awesome,” co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Scott Huff said. “He’s probably been our most consistent guy over the last three years. ... He’s reliable; he’s tough as nails. I love him like he’s my son.”
DAVID MOA, NOSE TACKLE
The sophomore is one of the smaller nose tackles in the nation, yet he is one of the most productive. Moa (6-foot-3, 271 pounds) leads the Broncos with 7.5 sacks, has broken up four passes and blocked a field goal. He’ll be key in slowing down Baylor’s strong run game.
“I’ve been treating every week the same, no matter what,” Moa said. “I know I’m not the heaviest, the biggest or the strongest, but I do have heart, and that’s going to show on the field.”
ZACH SMITH, QUARTERBACK
One of the most highly-decorated Texas prep quarterbacks ever began this season as Seth Russell’s backup. He was pressed into the starting role when Russell was lost for the season Nov. 12 at Oklahoma. The 6-4, 235-pound true freshman has completed 88-of-157 passes for 1,151 yards with 10 touchdowns to six interceptions.
“It’s kind of been crazy. ... It’s what I dreamt about, to start for a college program, playing in a bowl game. What more could you ask for?” Smith said.
KD CANNON, WIDE RECEIVER
A first-team All-Big 12 selection, the junior is fifth in school history with 2,887 career receiving yards and 181 catches. He’s been the top target of Russell and Smith, leading the team with 73 receptions for 989 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“He’s a good player, probably one of the fastest guys I’ve seen on film,” Boise State cornerback Jonathan Moxey said. “When he wants to go, he can just go, put his head down.”
ORION STEWART, SAFETY
A productive presence in the Baylor secondary, Stewart has a team-high five interceptions and is third with 71 tackles. With 11 career interceptions, he’s the first Bear since 1995 to have more than 10. He had 11 tackles in the Bears’ last regular-season game.
“He’s very talented, a guy that enjoys playing the game. He’s not been as consistent as he can be, but he does have a lot of talent,” Baylor coach Jim Grobe said. “He stepped up and played really well against West Virginia. I hope he’s trending that way. We need him to play well.”
Boise State vs. Baylor
- Time: 8:15 p.m. Tuesday
- Where: Chase Field, (40,400, grass, home of baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks), Phoenix
- TV: ESPN (Rece Davis, Joey Galloway, David Pollack, Molly McGrath)
- Radio: KTIK 93.1 FM, KBOI 670 AM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
- Vegas line: Boise State by 7 (over/under is 67 1/2)
- Coaches: Boise State, Bryan Harsin (31-8, third year; 38-13, fourth year overall); Baylor, Jim Grobe (6-6, first year; 116-121-1, 20th year overall)
- 2016 records: Boise State 10-2, Baylor 6-6
- Key stats: Boise State’s two losses this season were by a combined nine points; Baylor has lost six straight games by a combined 262-157.
- Bowl records: Boise State 11-5 (won six of past seven), Baylor 11-11 (lost four of past seven)
- Series: First meeting
- What to wear: The Broncos will wear the same uniform combo they have in their previous three Phoenix bowl games, all three wins: blue helmets, white jerseys and orange pants. Fans coming to the game are asked to wear orange.
- Kickoff weather: Chase Field has a retractable roof, which is expected to be open for pre-game activities and closed for the game. Tuesday’s evening forecast calls for temperatures in the upper 50s and a low in the mid-40s.