2012 Poinsettia - BYU vs. San Diego State

Posted Dec 21, 2012

2012-2013 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2012 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia

2012 SDC Credit Union Poinsettia

BYU 23, SDSU 6

- 2012-2013 CFN Bowl Central

- CFN Analysis: BYU & Van Noy dominate the San Diego State offense

National Rankings
56th Total Offense 57th
3rd Total Defense 43rd
65th Scoring Offense 28th
5th Scoring Defense 44th
62nd Rushing Offense 16th
2nd Run Defense 35th
51st Passing Offense 102nd
13th Passing Defense 59th
85th Turnover Margin 48th
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
B   S
3 Quarterbacks 3
4 RBs 4.5
3.5 Receivers 3
3 O Line 3
3.5 D Line 4
4 Linebackers 4
3 Secondary 3
4 Spec Teams 3.5
4 Coaching 4
BYU 23, San Diego State 6

(AP) SAN DIEGO (AP) - Linebacker Kyle Van Noy forced a fumble in the end zone and recovered it for a touchdown, and scored on a 17-yard interception return, both in the fourth quarter, to lead BYU to a 23-6 victory over San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday night.

The big plays swung the momentum for the Cougars (8-5) in what had been a tedious defensive struggle. San Diego State (9-4), playing in the hometown bowl for the second time in three years, missed the chance for its first 10-win season since 1977 and had its seven-game winning streak snapped.

Van Noy scored the game's first TD when he came free and hit Adam Dingwell's arm as he started to pass in the end zone, forcing and recovering a fumble for a 10-6 lead. The play was ruled a fumble, and the call stood after a video review.

Dingwell fumbled the snap on SDSU's next play from scrimmage and it was recovered by Jordan Johnson at the 14. Jamaal Williams scored on a run up the middle on the next play, BYU's second TD in 17 seconds.

With 6:09 left, Van Noy intercepted Dingwell's pass and weaved through traffic and into the end zone. Van Noy was selected the game's defensive MVP.

Dingwell finished with five turnovers, including three interceptions. Four of his turnovers were in the fourth quarter.

As big as the defensive plays were for the Cougars, their punt unit came up huge in pinning down the Aztecs four times in the second half. They downed two punts by Riley Stephenson at the 1, one at the 2 and another at the 3.

Until Van Noy and Williams scored, the game was a field position struggle.

San Diego State led 6-3 at halftime thanks to Chance Marden's field goals of 27 and 23 yards. Justin Sorensen kicked a 23-yarder for BYU.

San Diego State's Eric Pinkins intercepted Riley Nelson's pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter but the score was negated by a penalty for blocking below the waist. SDSU ended up punting from the BYU 36.

James Lark, who started at quarterback for BYU, completed 23 of 42 passes for 244 yards and was intercepted twice.

BYU's Cody Hoffman caught 10 passes for 114 yards and was named offensive MVP.

Dingwell completed 12 of 29 for 144 yards. Adam Muema ran 26 times for 103 yards.

San Diego State (9-3) vs. BYU (7-5) Dec. 20, 8:00, ESPN

Here's The Deal … It's just the Poinsettia Bowl, so it's crazy to look too deeply into the implications of what will happen for either side with a win, but for an independent team like BYU this game needs to be a statement. This is when the program has to show, at least as much as it's possible, that it can be a bit of a powerhouse with a little bit of tweaking.

On the surface, BYU might not seem that exciting a bowl team with a 7-5 record and the fate sealed to this game in mid-September after losing to Utah in one of the weirder and wilder games of the season. The Cougars were contractually tied into this game if they became bowl eligible and didn't get into the BCS, but instead of going into a lull they closed out the regular season strong with three excellent performances in the final four games. Fine, so beating Idaho and New Mexico State is hardly a reason to jump for joy, but they also walloped Georgia Tech on the road.

With a terrific defense, BYU was able to hold its own in several big games, giving Notre Dame a dogfight in a 17-14 loss in South Bend and losing to Utah, Boise State and San Jose State by a total of ten points. Granted, a good team whacks those three a bit, and the blowout loss at home to Oregon State wasn't a plus, but this is a veteran and mature group that should rise up for the big finish. Few programs have been better in bowls over the last several years going 5-1 since 2005.

San Diego State is just 2-5 all-time in bowl games – starting with a 53-0 loss to Hardin-Simmons in the 1947 Harbor Bowl – losing to Louisiana-Lafayette last year in the most entertaining bowl of the season. However, the last time the Aztecs played at home in the post-season was two years ago with a 35-14 pasting of Navy in the Poinsettia, and for a program that has gone bowling just twice since 1998 and three times since 1991, this game will be a big deal.

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Rocky Long and the Aztecs, but they overcame a rough 2-3 start to roar the rest of the way with seven straight wins and a share of the Mountain West title. With an overtime win over Nevada and a tough victory at Boise State, this is a battle-hardened team that did a nice job of putting away the teams it was supposed to in conference play without a problem. The offense is tough on the ground and the defense is aggressive and solid, so in the final game before going off to the Big East, the chance is there for the Aztecs to make a big splash of its own.

Players to Watch: He might not be Ronnie Hillman, but San Diego State sophomore Adam Muema was able to carry the rushing workload with a terrific 1,355-yard, 16 touchdown season closing out with a 255-yard, four touchdown effort against Wyoming. He's a smallish, quick back with phenomenal athleticism and blazing wheels. While he's not huge at 5-10 and 190 pounds, he's tough, can jump out of the stadium and cut on a dime, however, he's not used much as a receiver and has been stopped cold by most of the good run defenses other than Boise State's.

BYU junior Cody Hoffman closed out the season as one of the hottest receivers in college football making 25 grabs for 337 yards and five touchdowns – all scores coming against Wyoming – and with eight of his 11 touchdown grabs coming in two of the final three games. The star of last year's bowl win over Tulsa, he made eight catches for 122 yards and three touchdowns, and while the quarterback play has been spotty throughout this season, he has managed to hold his own with seven 100-yard games and hitting the mark ten times over his last 17 outings. With excellent size and good speed, he's not just a good target at 6-4 and 208 pounds, he's a matchup nightmare.

Trying to keep Hoffman under wraps will be Aztec veteran corner Leon McFadden, a strong cover-corner who has earned all-star honors over the last few seasons with three picks and two scores this year. At 5-10 and 185 pounds he's not huge, but he's physical and able to come up with stops in the open field. However, his real talent shines through when the ball is in the air with outstanding recovery skills and great speed breaking up 37 passes in his career. However, he'll have to make amends for last year's rough bowl performance in the loss to Louisiana-Lafayette, and he needs to come up with a big performance in his final game before going off to the NFL.

San Diego State will win if … the passing game works. This isn't the Aztec team of last year with Ryan Lindley winging the ball around, but there's just enough talent and efficiency to push the ball down the field. BYU would love nothing more than to make this an ugly slugfest that came down to running games because of the concerns in the secondary. BYU was able to slip by Utah State after giving up 202 yards, but it got bombed on by Oregon State and San Jose State and allowed nine of the 12 touchdown passes in losses. SDSU would like to pound away with Muema, but the passing game has worked when needed throwing 21 scoring passes and only clunking with three of the eight picks and just 160 yards in the loss to Fresno State.

Defensively, San Diego State has to bring the heat from the start. The pass rush has been terrific throughout the season, spreading out 30 sacks and 84 tackles for loss, and the D should be able to get into the backfield against a leaky BYU offensive line. The Cougars should get back Riley Nelson, a mobile veteran quarterback who's hurting with sore ribs, but he'll be under pressure all game long.

BYU will win if … it wins the turnover battle. San Diego State hasn't had a huge problem with giveaways on the season, but there have been problems over the last month with nine turnovers in the last four games. The BYU defense might have the stats, but big plays have been a problem, coming up with ten of the 17 takeaways this year against Weber State, Idaho and Hawaii. The Cougars are great at keeping the penalties to a minimum, and in a potentially tight game like this should be, the team that commits the fewer mistakes will likely come away with the win.

Also, the Cougars need to own field position. San Diego State is phenomenal on third downs, converting close to half of its chances, but the team isn't necessarily built to go on long, sustained drives. Riley Stephenson leads a BYU punting game that's second in the nation, and he needs to keep the field tilted to give the offense as short a field as possible. Field position will be a very, very big deal.

What Will Happen: BYU has been waiting for this game. The time off isn't a big deal to this team full of mature veterans who'll be rested and ready to load up to stop Muema and the Aztec ground game. San Diego State will get a little bit of a boost by playing at home, but Cougar fans will show up to even things out and take away most of the advantage. The crowd won't have anything to do with the play on the lines, though, with BYU needing to turn SDSU into a passing team. Sophomore Adam Dingwell is promising, but if the Aztecs aren't running well, they won't win.

CFN Prediction: BYU 24 … San Diego State 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) BYU -2.5 O/U: 49

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Poinsettia Bowl History
2011 TCU 31, Louisiana Tech 24
2010 San Diego State 35, Navy 17
2009 Utah 37, California 27
2008 TCU 17, Boise St 16
2007 Utah 35, Navy 32
2006 TCU 37, Northern Illinois 7
2005 Navy 51, Colorado State 30