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Poinsettia Bowl Preview
by Matt Fargo - 12/06/2012
Thursday, December 20th
Poinsettia Bowl - Qualcomm Stadium 8:00 PM ET
BYU Cougars vs. San Diego St. Aztecs (+3/48.5)
How BYU got here
The second season as an Independent did not go as good as the first for BYU but it can still be considered another successful one. The Cougars finished the regular season at 7-5 but losses to Utah, Boise St. and Notre Dame were by a combined seven points and all of those came on the road. But BYU really had only two quality wins this season so it could be out to prove something here against its former MWC foe. The Cougars have now gone to a bowl game in each of head coach Bronco Mendenhall's eight years at the helm and they are currently riding a three-game bowl winning streak.
How San Diego St. got here
With only six starters returning on each side of the ball, expectations were not very high in San Diego. After starting the season 2-3, it looked as though it was definitely a rebuilding season for the Aztecs but they reeled off seven straight wins to claim a share of the MWC regular season title. Four of those wins came against poor competition but the other three victories came against other bowl teams so the winning streak has some validity to it. Having an eight-game winning streak before going to the Big East (or maybe back to the MWC), would be huge for next season.
BYU and San Diego St. have met 35 times with BYU holding the edge 27-7-1 including winning the last five being by an average of 18.6 ppg.
It is game number 13 for BYU and the quarterback controversy still lingers. Backup quarterback James Lark led the Cougars to an easy win over New Mexico St. in the season finale but Riley Nelson is healthy again so a decision needs to be made and BYU may keep San Diego St. guessing for a while. While the offense is ranked 56th overall, BYU brings in the nation's third best defense, allowing only 266.3 ypg. The Aztecs have scored a lot but the total offense is ranked only 57th in the nation so they could have some issues against the Cougars stop unit. San Diego St. has allowed 28 or more points five times but 14 or fewer points five times so this game could be decided on which one of those defenses shows up.
BYU is 0-6 ATS this season following a win while San Diego St. is 5-1 ATS in its last six games following a win.
San Diego St. has gone under in 18 of its last 22 games after outgaining its last opponent by 175 or more yards.