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First look: No. 12 Washington State vs. No. 25 Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl

UPDATED: Wed., Dec. 26, 2018, 12:54 p.m.

Iowa State running back David Montgomery (32) is tackled after a 46-yard gain by Kansas linebacker Mike Lee (11) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. Iowa State defeated Kansas 31-24. (Orlin Wagner / AP)
Iowa State running back David Montgomery (32) is tackled after a 46-yard gain by Kansas linebacker Mike Lee (11) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. Iowa State defeated Kansas 31-24. (Orlin Wagner / AP)

What is it? Iowa State (8-4, 6-1) of the Big 12 Conference meets Washington State (10-2, 7-2) of the Pac-12 Conference in the 26th Valero Alamo Bowl.

Where is it? The Alamodome in San Antonio.

When is it? Kickoff is 6 p.m. PT Friday.

Where can I watch it? The game will air on ESPN.

Who is favored? Washington State is a 3-point favorite.

How did they fare last time? The Cougars suffered a 28-15 loss to Washington in a snowy Apple Cup at Martin Stadium. The Cyclones edged FCS opponent Drake in their regular-season finale at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.

Why WSU will win: The incentive for the Cougars in this bowl game is greater than some of those in the past. With a victory in the Alamo Bowl, WSU would set a school record with its 11th win of the season – an achievement the Cougars aren’t taking lightly. Many of the so-called distractions that lingered in WSU’s locker room before last year’s Holiday Bowl – Mike Leach’s reported interest in Tennessee, rumors that DC Alex Grinch was leaving, the departure/dismissal of two top wideouts – haven’t permeated this team and by most accounts, the Cougars seem more focused. The domed venue should be advantageous for Gardner Minshew and the WSU offense, which managed 300-plus yards in the air in the first 11 games of the season before the Apple Cup blizzard.

Why ISU will win: It won’t be the first time this season the Cyclones have seen some variation of Leach’s passing offense. Lincoln Riley runs the Air Raid at Oklahoma, as does Dana Holgorsen at West Virgina. The Cyclones held the Mountaineers to 14 points and NFL-bound quarterback Will Grier mustered just 100 yards through the air, with one touchdown and one interception. Even in Oklahoma’s 10-point win over ISU, the Sooners and Heisman winner Kyler Murray scored just 37 points – nearly 13 points lower than the season average for college football’s top offense. ISU is dangerous on offense, too, with 1,000-yard wide receiver Hakeem Butler, who’s caught nine touchdown passes this season and, at 6-foot-6, could be a headache for WSU’s undersized cornerbacks.

What happened last time? This is the first meeting between the Cougars and the Cyclones.

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