LA Bowl. Hosted By Gronk: Boise State vs. UCLA

By Lee Wakefield

A bowl game, in the NFL’s plushest of stadiums, hosted by none other than Rob Gronkowski, what’s not to love!? Jimmy Kimmel is out, and with Gronk on the scene surely it’s time to turn the party up to eleven. The Bruins and the Broncos will face off in what should be a fun game, with music and red cups aplenty. I can’t wait to see what Gronk does to top the vomiting camel

Where and When

LA Bowl, Hosted By Gronk

Location: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California

Date: 16th December 2023

Time: 7:30pm (ET)

Story so far…

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For Boise, an iffy start to the season saw them lose their two opening games but they recovered well to take the Mountain West title against UNLV. This win extended their win streak to four games, so they should be full of confidence. It has been a strange season for Boise because, after the two opening losses, they’ve only lost three times since, yet they fired Head Coach, Andy Avalos. Spencer Danielson, who was the Defensive Coordinator before stepping up is 3-0. He was confirmed as Head Coach after the UNLV game. So after bagging their first Mountain West championship since 2019 has a chance to add a bowl title to it, to continue a fairytale beginning to his reign.

UCLA’s season saw the opposite happen. UCLA had a bright start under sixth-year Head Coach, Chip Kelly. They won 6 of their opening 8 games, but then only posted a W once the rest of the way. That win was against USC, on the road in the LA Coliseum but that didn’t stop the local and national media from discussing whether the former Eagles coach would be fired. Would a bowl win save him, or merely paper over the cracks? Then again, UCLA has been mediocre throughout his tenure, so even a win at SoFi might not save him.

The Quarterbacks…

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Dante Moore has entered the transfer portal, which has cleared the way for Ethan Garbers to start in this game for UCLA. Ethan, the younger brother of former Cal QB, Chase Garbers, began his college career at Washington before transferring to UCLA.

He has never cemented himself as a starter, first backing up Cleveland’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson and then this year splitting time with Dante Moore.

Perhaps this game will go some way to ensuring Garbers is the Bruin’s starter in 2024 as he enters his Senior year.

Taylen Green is a second-year starter and a dual threat for the Broncos who will give UCLA something to think about on every snap. He was named the MVP of the Mountain West championship game as the Broncos overcame UNLV 44-20. Green had 316 yards from scrimmage and four total touchdowns, which highlights his threat. However he, like many other players, entered the transfer portal recently. Green has left the door open to returning to Boise but if he doesn’t play in Los Angeles, Freshman passer, CJ Tiller is in line for his first experience in the college game.

Prospects to watch…

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Boise State

Ahmed Hassanein, Defensive LineWhether Junior prospect Hassanein declares or not is questionable since he only has one year of full starting experience under his belt but I want to mark your card for 2025 in any case. 12 sacks and 16.5 TFLs in 2023 whilst playing multiple spots on the defensive line will certainly have NFL scouts looking his way. Hassanein, who is of Egyptian descent, is the best player on the Broncos’ defense.

George Holani, Running BackHolani is the driving force behind the Boise offense. Although he missed a portion of the season through injury, he has still carried the ball over 100 times for 610 yards and 5 scores. Holani has a squatty, thick frame and could serve as a power back in a rotational role in the NFL, although he isn’t completely useless as a receiver.


Laiatu Latu, Edge DefenderTruly one of the best overall defensive prospects in college football and will be eying the first round in next April’s draft. Latu arrived in Pasadena two seasons ago and has been a problem for offensive linemen ever since. 23.5 sacks, 34 tackles for loss, 2 force fumbles, and 2 interceptions show that he can affect the game in multiple ways. The counting stats are only part of the story with Latu though… Flip the tape on and let it speak for itself.


UCLA should have more than enough to take care of business in their “home” bowl game just over the other side of LA. The Pac-12 was a strong conference in its final iteration and whilst UCLA was 7th of 12 teams, they still had a winning record. Boise are no mugs either, so it should be a decent game overall.

Boise State 27 – 45 UCLA

Lee Wakefield