San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Preveiw

Ted Leroux Correspondent IDecember 19, 2008


If there is a bowl game that defined the term "toilet bowl" in past years, it has been this one. 

The first two Poinsettia Bowls were good, old-fashioned beat-downs. Navy beat Colorado State 51-30 in 2005 and TCU beat Northern Illinois 37-7 in 2006.

Last season started the trend of good, explosive teams meeting in this bowl game as Utah beat Navy 35-32. 

This year's game will definitely be the best game in the brief history of the Poinsettia Bowl, and could also be one of the best games of the bowl season as No. 9 Boise State meets No. 11 TCU.   

The Boise State Broncos started the year with hopes for a BCS at-large bid. They did their part by remaining undefeated throughout the regular season.

In fact, they played in just two close games all season. The Broncos held off the Oregon Ducks in week three, 37-32 in Eugene. Late in the season, they beat a good Nevada team 41-34 in Reno.

Boise State was dominant all season long, as they averaged 39.4 points-per-game on offense and only allowed 12.3 points-per-game on defense.

The TCU Horned Frogs gave up 35 points to Oklahoma in an early season loss, but their stingy defense didn't allow opposing teams to score more than 14 points in any other game this season.

To say this is a dominate defense would be enough. The Horned Frogs only gave up 10.9 points-per-game and are ranked second in the nation in scoring defense.

The offense wasn't too bad either, as they scored 35 points-per-game.

TCU did lose two games, both to BCS bowl teams. They had an early season loss in Norman, 35-10. The Horned Frogs also lost a defensive struggle late in the year to the Utah Utes, 13-10.

Boise State does have an explosive offense, despite having running back Ian Johnson's production decline since that Fiesta Bowl win. Johnson has 738 yards rushing, along with 12 touchdowns this season.

Although the running game has declined, the passing game is still effective.

Freshman Quarterback Kellen Moore has not played like a "true freshman," as he has thrown for 3264 yards passing and 25 touchdowns while completing an amazing 70 percent of his passes this season.

The match up that will decide this game is clearly going to be Boise State's offense against TCU's defense. As I said before, TCU is giving up only 10.9 points-per-game and Boise State is scoring 39.4 points-per-game—something has got to give.


Since Kellen Moore is a freshman, he could be vulnerable to making mistakes under pressure in his first bowl game. Speaking of pressure, TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes is the best pass-rusher in the nation as he leads the NCAA with 14 sacks. Because of the pressure from TCU's front four, I believe its going to be tough for the Broncos to move the ball.

TCU will get great pressure on Moore and rattle him all night long. Ian Johnson will not be able to run at all,—I would be surprised if he gets over 80 yards rushing.

Final Score: TCU 20, Boise State 13