NCF Nation: Adam Dingwell


BYU beat San Diego State 23-6 in the offensively challenged San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday night. Here is a quick rundown of how it happened:

It was over when: The BYU defense took the scoring into its own hands. The Cougars and Aztecs slogged it out for three quarters, combining for three field goals. The turning point came early in the fourth quarter, when BYU scored 20 points off San Diego State turnovers. It all started when monster BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy rushed quarterback Adam Dingwell in the end zone, forcing a fumble and recovering it for a touchdown. The Cougars recovered another fumble by Dingwell on San Diego State's next possession, and Jamaal Williams scored on a 14-yard run. Van Noy later returned an interception for a score. So BYU got a 20-point swing thanks to three takeaways from its exceptional defense, ranked No. 3 in the nation headed into the game.

Game ball goes to: Van Noy. What more can we say about Van Noy, who has been an absolute force the entire season? He added to his school record with his sixth forced fumble of the season -- the turning-point play in the game. Not only that, he also had a blocked punt earlier in the contest, and iced everything with his pick-six. BYU had only one defensive score all year headed into the game. Van Noy is thinking about leaving school early for the NFL draft. If he does, his final performance will be one to remember.

Stat of the game: 2. Van Noy scored more touchdowns than anybody on the field. Yes, you read that right. The most valuable defensive player was the most valuable offensive player, too. And BYU needed every bit of his offense, considering how badly Cougars quarterback James Lark and his teammates struggled to generate much of anything. BYU, a program that has developed one elite quarterback after another, has had major problems at the position for three consecutive seasons. It's head-scratching to say the least.
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.

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