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Poinsettia Bowl: BYU's 4 Keys to Victory over San Diego State

Samuel BensonContributor IIIDecember 19, 2012

Poinsettia Bowl: BYU's 4 Keys to Victory over San Diego State

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    With the Poinsettia Bowl being hours away, it is time to get in the college football mood and get excited for an exciting bowl matchup.

    BYU and San Diego State will be pitted against each other in a former conference rivalry, and in order for the Cougars to leave San Diego with a win, they will have to accomplish four things.

    From playing a healthy quarterback to knocking down field goals, here are the four keys to a BYU victory.

Force SDSU to Pass

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    San Diego State's offensive strength lies within their rushing game, led by running back Adam Muema. They will surely try to play old-school football, by keeping the ball on the ground as much as possible.

    That's where BYU comes in.

    As the second-ranked rushing defense (behind Alabama), the Cougars will need to lock down SDSU's ground attack and force young quarterback Adam Dingwell to lead the Aztecs through the air.

Play a Healthy Quarterback

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    As senior quarterback Riley Nelson is still nursing a rib/ back injury, it seems as if James Lark is the obvious choice to start the bowl game. After his six-touchdown performance against New Mexico State, it seems that starting Lark is a no-brainer.

    That is where it gets tough, though. It has been reported that Lark has been told that he will start vs. SDSU, but he was told the same thing against Utah earlier this year.

    James Lark said he was told he would start at Utah. Nelson wanted to start, but he was still told "be ready to go". He was the third string a week later.

    — Robbie Bullough (@RobbieBullough) October 10, 2012

    At this point, Cougar fans should just hope that the right quarterback plays, and that they can get a win out of it.

Establish a Dominant Rushing Game

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    Jamaal Williams has been one of the biggest surprises of the year for BYU, as he emerged as the Cougars' number-one running back. But in order for BYU to beat the Aztecs, they will need a solid balance between pass and run.

    If Williams and the Cougar rushing attack begin with a dominant start to the game, they can set up play action plays for James Lark and the passing game. The last thing they want to do is have the offense rely wholly on an inexperienced quarterback.

Make Field Goals When Needed

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    As BYU has learned this year, it is really, really tough to win games when your kicker is struggling. The Poinsettia Bowl will likely be a close contest, and if it comes down to a game-winning field goal, Justin Sorensen will (obviously) need to make it.

    The Cougar kicking game has had their fair share of struggles this season, and this is their chance to end it on a good note.

    For more BYU football and basketball news and analysis, follow me on Twitter:

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