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As college football bowl season progresses, we’re starting to dive into some of the better matchups on the schedule. This year’s rendition of the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl will feature two Power Five teams in the ACC’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the SEC’s Missouri Tigers going to battle at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
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Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl game info
- Date: Friday, December 23, 2022
- Start Time: 6:30pm ET
- Channel: ESPN
- Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
- Participants: Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-5) vs Missouri Tigers (6-6)
- FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Wake Forest -1.5 (-115), O/U 58.5
Wake Forest Demon Deacons -1.5 with FanDuel
HC Dave Clawson’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-5, 7-5 ATS) will limp into the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl after losing four of five regular season contests to round out the 2022 season. After a stellar 6-1 start to the campaign that featured a lone loss in 2OT to the undefeated No. 5 Clemson Tigers, the Demon Deacons hit the skids finished at 7-5 overall. They will now look to put all of that behind them and put on a strong showing as they bid farewell to the program’s longtime quarterback and leader, Sam Hartman.
All eyes will surely be on the redshirt junior in this one, as Hartman is headed for the NFL Draft following one last game with the Demon Deacons after five incredible seasons in Winston-Salem. Hartman was prolific under center in each of the last two seasons for Wake Forest, topping 3,400 passing yards and 35 touchdowns in both 2021 and 2022. Friday night’s bowl game will serve as one last opportunity for Hartman to shine at the collegiate level before he moves on to bigger and better things.
Wake Forest has been nothing short of a mainstay during bowl season under Clawson, clinching bowl eligibility in each of the program’s previous seven seasons. The Demon Deacons picked up a victory in the Gator Bowl over Rutgers last season to snap a two-game bowl skid, but had won the three prior, bringing Clawson’s all-time bowl record at Wake Forest to 4-2 overall. With RB Christian Turner one of the only key pieces missing for Wake ahead of the Gasparilla Bowl, expect a full-fledged effort from the Demon Deacons as they send off one of the most prominent players in program history.
Missouri Tigers +1.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook
It might’ve came down to the wire, but the Missouri Tigers (6-6, 7-5 ATS) rallied to win each of their final two games of the 2022 regular season to clinch a bowl berth for the second consecutive season under HC Eli Drinkwitz. Following an Armed Forces Bowl loss to the Army Black Knights last season, Mizzou will look to pick up its first bowl victory under Drinkwitz since the third-year head man left Appalachian State for the Tigers prior to the 2020 season.
Although Missouri will enter tonight’s Gasparilla Bowl with a bit of wind in their sails after back-to-back victories over New Mexico State and Arkansas lifted them to six wins, the Tigers will need to improvise after a few key players opted out of this one. Second Team All-SEC WR Dominic Lovett entered the transfer portal after leading the Tigers with 846 receiving yards this season and will not participate in the Gasparilla Bowl, while fellow Second Team All-SEC selection DL Isaiah McGuire will be missing in the trenches for Mizzou as he prepares for the 2023 NFL Draft. Joining McGuire from Missouri’s defense in preparation for the draft will be two more key players in defensive lineman DJ Coleman and DB Martez Manuel. Those three combined for 13 sacks this season, while the rest of Missouri’s defense combined for 17 total.
After breaking down each team’s respective roster, it’s more than clear that Missouri will be playing at a major disadvantage against the Demon Deacons without its best wide receiver and three of its top playmakers on defense. Going up against a perennial bowl team in Wake Forest that will be playing for a program legend in Sam Hartman is a tough task to say the least and should be too much to overcome for a below-average defense (83rd out of 131 FBS teams with 25.5 points allowed per game) already down three key players.
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