Well, it's not the national championship, but for Navy and San Diego State, it's certainly a step in the right direction. This year's Poinsettia Bowl pits two up-and-coming programs in a battle for mediocre bowl supremacy!
Will there be drama? Have either of the two teams' quarterbacks been courted with bribes by local community colleges? Here's 10 things you need to know before tuning in to watch this game.
The Poinsettia Bowl takes place in the Aztecs’ home town of...you guessed it…San Diego. The Aztecs went 5-1 at home this season, ending the season with an 8-4 record. The Midshipmen were good on the road, going 4-2 and ending the season with a 9-3 record.
This dude was wreaking havoc with interns last time SDSU played in a bowl!
The Midshipmen have been to a bowl for the past six seasons. SDSU, on the other hand, hasn’t been invited to a major bowl since Bill Clinton was President and Will Smith was a rapper.
The Midshipmen almost never pass—they are fifth in the nation with more than 300 yards of rushing offense a game. On the other hand, their passing game is nearly last in the nation, averaging just over 150 yards a game.
The Aztecs are the exact opposite: they sit at 11th in the nation in passing at just under 300 yards a game. And their rushing offense isn’t a slouch either, averaging more than 150 yards a game.
Ricky Dobbs is no Cam Newton, but he’s still a successful dual-threat quarterback. He generally throws ten to 15 passes a game, while rushing 20-plus times. He averages around four yards per carry, and completes more than 50 percent of his passes.
Navy faced off in its annual game against Notre Dame and simply dominated them, winning by nearly 20. Navy running back Alex Teich rushed for more than 200 yards, averaging over eight yards per carry. Navy then picked off two of Notre Dame’s passes to seal the victory.
Midway through the season, SDSU managed to eek out a victory against Air Force, 27-25. Since then, they’ve played well.
San Diego State hasn’t had a truly season defining victory (Air Force isn’t a great team). Instead, they’ve managed to keep games close against some of the best teams in the nation. They lost to TCU on the road 40-35, nearly returning from a 34-14 halftime deficit. They also kept a game close with Utah.
Quarterback Ryan Lindley is a veritable force to be reckoned with: he’s completing nearly 60 percent of his passes, and has thrown for 26 touchdowns. He’s also thrown for more than 3,500 yards on the season.
They also have two quality receivers in Demarco Sampson and Vincent Brown. Sampson has caught more than 60 passes on the season, while Brown has operated as a successful deep threat.
The offense all starts with Ricky Dobbs. But it doesn’t end there. Running back Alex Teich has averaged more than six yards a carry. Navy has five players with more than 300 yards rushing on the season.
Navy has won one national championship—in 1926. They’ve been to 17 bowl games, eight of which have come consecutively since 2003. Coach Ken Niumatalolo was hired two seasons ago, and has led his team to consecutive bowl games.
San Diego State has not won a bowl game in 37 years. That being said, they have a ripe history of football stars, including: Joe Gibbs, John Madden, Don Coryell and Marshall Faulk. You’d think that with such talent, they’d have fielded a good team this last century…but they’ve been awful.