McIntyre to battle Lombardi Trophy finalist in bowl
By Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
Although defensive tackle Garrett McIntyre has a year of eligibility remaining at Fresno State, his bowl game on Monday in Boise is an opportunity to showcase his talents for National Football League scouts.
McIntyre’s matchup with Lombardi Trophy finalist Elton Brown of Virginia should give pro scouts attending the MPC Computers Bowl an indication if the former South Tahoe High defensive star has the ability to play on Sundays.
Brown certainly fits the physique of an NFL offensive lineman at 6-foot-6 and 320 pounds, while the 6-3, 250-pound McIntyre has the frame more conducive to playing linebacker than defensive line.
“I’m really excited about the matchup and it’s a real good opportunity for me,” he said. “I’ve gone against a guy 6-6 and 330 pounds on our line, so it’s nothing that I haven’t seen.”
Bulldogs’ coach Pat Hill isn’t worried about how McIntyre will fare against Brown.
“Garrett’s played against big men before, but these are big men with athletic ability to match. It’ll be an interesting matchup,” Hill said. “I’d never count out Garrett McIntyre. They haven’t seen guys like him when he comes out onto the field.
“When they’re playing Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech, they’re not seeing a 235-pound defensive lineman. He’s a special guy and just because of his size doesn’t mean he’s not capable of playing at this level easily. I have great confidence that Garrett McIntyre will show up very well in this game.”
One edge McIntyre and the Bulldogs will have over the Cavaliers is their familiarity with the unusual blue turf at Bronco Stadium.
“I think it’s horrible and I know Virginia has never seen it. You just have to get used to it,” McIntyre said.
The 18th-ranked Cavaliers (8-3, 5-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) bring some lofty credentials to Boise. They were ranked as high as sixth and they are the first ranked postseason opponent for Fresno State since the Bulldogs played No. 17 Colorado in the 1993 Aloha Bowl.
“The opponent is a lot tougher than any opponent we’ve had in a bowl game since I’ve been here,” said Hill, who is taking the Bulldogs’ to their sixth bowl game in the past six seasons. “This is really a team that has no true weakness. Defensively they are very strong and offensively they can run the football, and they have a quarterback who is a great athlete. He can throw it if he has to, but he’s a great run threat.”
McIntyre and the Bulldogs arrived in Boise on Thursday, meaning that many of them will spend Christmas away from family and friends.
“The fact that we don’t get to be home during Christmas is a little different, but my family is going to be here in Boise,” McIntyre said.
ESPN will televise the game beginning at 11 a.m. Monday.
– Fresno State University’s sports information department contributed to this story.