Sunday, December 2, 2012
S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
By Matt Fortuna and Kevin Gemmell
BYU Cougars (7-5) vs. San Diego State Aztecs (9-3)
Dec. 20, 8 p.m. ET, San Diego (ESPN)
BYU take from Big East blogger Matt Fortuna: Defense has carried the Cougars throughout this 7-5 season, bringing the program to a Dec. 20 matchup with San Diego State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. BYU boasts the nation's No. 3 overall defense (266.33 yards per game) and No. 5 scoring defense (14.67 ppg).
Cody Hoffman leads the way offensively for a team that put up 40 or more points in three of its final four games. The receiver has 90 catches for 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns, nearly half of those scores coming in his five-touchdown, 182-yard performance in a regular-season ending win at New Mexico State.
BYU came within an errant fourth-quarter pass of upsetting No. 1 Notre Dame on Oct. 20, falling by three. The Cougars have won three of four since.
San Diego State take from Pac-12 blogger Kevin Gemmell: The Aztecs are enjoying one of the best seasons in school history -- locking up a piece of the Mountain West title for the first time since joining the league. Signature wins on the road at Nevada and Boise State brought them into the Top 25 conversation.
After a 2-3 start, the Aztecs have won seven straight and backup quarterback Adam Dingwell, who replaced Ryan Katz midway through the year after an injury knocked him out for the season, has guided SDSU to four of those wins (including the Boise State upset). Adam Muema has emerged as one of the nation's top rushers with 1,355 yards and 16 touchdowns. Not too bad for a team that lost its quarterback, running back and best defensive player to the NFL from a season ago. There's no love lost either between longtime rivals SDSU and BYU. This is a dream matchup for the Poinsettia Bowl.