Poinsettia Bowl 2012: BYU vs. San Diego State TV Info, Predictions and More

Samuel Benson@@sambbensonContributor IIIDecember 3, 2012

Poinsettia Bowl 2012: BYU vs. San Diego State TV Info, Predictions and More

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    After accepting an invitation to play in the Poinsettia Bowl last Monday, San Diego State will host the Cougars of BYU in the eighth annual event. With a 9-3 record, the Aztecs won a share of the regular season MWC championship.

    Despite a strong start to the season, BYU lost in the third and fourth games of the season, along with two later on. Despite a hiccup against San Jose State, the Cougars finished the year victorious with a blowout win over NMSU.

    So, without further ado, here is a complete preview for a bowl matchup that will surely be exciting and entertaining.

Game Day Info

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    Where: San Diego, California

    Stadium: Qualcomm Stadium (70,561)

    When: December 20th, 6 pm (MST)

    TV: ESPN

    Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM/1160 AM)

    Live Streaming: ESPN3 (www.espn.go.com/watchespn)

Key Storylines

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    A Rivalry Renewed

    The BYU-SDSU series has dated back to the days when both schools were members of the WAC and continued until the Cougars left the MWC. Before 2011, there were 13 straight years the two teams met. BYU leads in the series, 27-7-1.

    Mendenhall and Long Reunite

    While current SDSU coach Rocky Long was coaching at New Mexico, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall served as his defensive coordinator. The two coaches have not met in a game since 2010.

    A Cougar QB Controversy

    Riley Nelson, BYU's former starting quarterback, sat out of the season finale with a back injury. Although they say "a player shouldn't lose a starting role by getting hurt," it is tough to agree after backup quarterback James Lark's performance against NMSU. He threw for six touchdowns for over 380 yards, and it will be interesting to see if Lark or Nelson play against the Aztecs.

BYU's Projected Starters

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    QB: Riley Nelson/ James Lark

    RB: Jamaal Williams

    WR: Cody Hoffman, Ross Apo, J.D. Falslev

    TE: Kaneakua Friel

    LT: Ryker Mathews

    LG: Solomone Kafu

    C: Braden Hansen

    RG: Manaaki Vaitai

    RT: Braden Brown

    Special Teams

    K: Justin Sorensen

    P: Riley Stephenson

    LS: Reed Hornung

    H: J.D. Falslev


    LE: Ezekiel Ansah

    DT: Romney Fuga

    RE: Russell Tialavea

    LB: Spencer Hadley

    MLB: Uona Kaveinga

    LB: Brandon Ogletree

    OLB: Kyle Van Noy

    CB: Jordan Johnson

    CB: Preston Hadley

    SS: Daniel Sorensen

    FS: Craig Bills

    Special Teams

    PR: J.D. Falslev

    KR: Jordan Johnson, Mike Hague

SDSU's Projected Starters

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    QB: Adam Dingwell

    RB: Adam Muema

    FB: Chad Young

    TE: Adam Roberts

    WR: Brice Butler, Dominique Sandifer

    LT: Bryce Quigley

    LG: Riley Gauld

    C: Alec Johnson

    RG: Nik Embernate

    RT: Zach Dilley


    DE: Jordan Thomas

    DT: Sam Meredith

    DE: Cody Galea

    LB: Nick Tenhaeff

    MLB: Jake Fely

    LB: Derek Largent

    CB: Leon McFadden

    CB: Josh Wade

    S: Marcus Andrews

    S: Eric Pinkins

    Special Teams

    P: Seamus McMorrow

    K: Chance Marden

Cougar Player to Watch

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    Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah owns one of the greatest success stories I have ever heard. A native of Ghana, Ansah came to BYU to play basketball. After finding no success there, he moved on to track, and later decided to try out football. Knowing nothing about the sport, he was in unknown territory.

    Two years later, he leads the Cougar defensive line and is one of the best pass rushers in the country. He is projected to be drafted early in the second round of the NFL draft, but could sneak into the first.

Aztec Player to Watch

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    Adam Muema, an Aztec running back, is one of the most dominant ball carriers in the country. He averages 6.4 yards per carry, a number that is equal to Kenjon Barner's (Oregon) average.

    Muema is coming off of a career-high contest against Wyoming, in which he rushed for 255 yards. He averaged nine yards per carry, and found the end zone four times.

Key Matchups

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    BYU's Cody Hoffman (WR) vs. SDSU's Leon McFadden (CB)

    Cody Hoffman leads BYU's receiving corps with 90 receptions for 1,134 yards. Matched up against Leon McFadden, one of the best cornerbacks in the country, it will be fun to keep an eye on the two players.

    BYU's Defensive Front 7 vs. SDSU's Rushing Game

    The Cougars led the nation in rushing yards allowed per game at one point this season, and are now in second behind Alabama. It will be interesting to see how San Diego State's 16th-ranked rushing offense performs after allowing only 94.5 rushing yards per game.

BYU Will Win If...

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    ...they receive consistent and productive play from their quarterback. Whether it be Riley Nelson or James Lark in the game for the Cougs, the person taking snaps will need to play smart.

    In all of BYU's losses this year, the QB playing has turned the ball over two or more times. The quarterbacks have won every game when they commit fewer than two turnovers.

San Diego State Will Win If...

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    ...their offensive line blocks well. Everyone knows that both your rushing and passing games start with the big boys up front, and if the Aztecs can exploit BYU's weaknesses in the passing game, they will come out on top.

    If the rushing game fails for SDSU, there is no way that they'll win. Brigham Young has too much experience playing against one-dimensional teams, and San Diego State can't let that happen.

Final Prediction

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    It will be close, but I think that BYU will emerge as the winner of the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl. Their defense won't disappoint, and if the Cougar offense can produce, they will barely chalk the "W."

    My prediction: BYU wins, 24-21


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