BYU Cougars (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. San Diego State Aztecs (9-3 SU, 8-4 ATS)
Date/Time: December 20, 2012. 8:00 p.m. EST.
Where: Qualcomm Stadium
by Wilson, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Brigham Young University -2.5/SD ST +2.5
Over/Under Total: 49
The BYU Cougars finished their regular season by demolishing the New Mexico State Aggies 50-14. It was a career day for two BYU offensive players: WR Cody Hoffman and QB James Lark. All Coffman did was pull in 12 catches for 182 yards and he 5 of the 12 grabs were touchdown receptions. Coffman’s regular season numbers were impressive as he had 1,134 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. Senior Cougar QB James Lark got his first career start and made one heck of a go of it-he threw for 384 yards, completed 34 of 50 passing, and tossed 6 TDs. Granted, the Aggies finished their season with a 1-10 record, but even so, the Cougars offense looked very smooth and executed the offense well.
The San Diego State Aztecs racked up 9 wins this season to finish out the regular season with an overall 9-3 record and 7-1 in conference play. The Aztecs are heading into the Poinsettia Bowl on a 7-game winning streak. They’ve outscored their last two opponents 70-37 and hope to bring that type of fire power to their home turf against the Cougars of BYU. The Aztecs football program has had some success throughout the years as they boast 19 conference championships including this season as they earned a share of the Mountain West Conference championship. One of their signature wins was at Boise State 21-19 which all but clinched their piece of the conference title-their first since 1998.
Offensively, the Aztecs average 35.1 points per game while their opponents averaged 24.5 per contest. San Diego St. has a slightly better output as a running team as they averaged 229 yards per game with 178.6 in passing yardage. However, the Aztecs gave up a fair amount of passing yards to the opposition-235 yards per game. But they held their opponents to 140 yards on the ground. Either way, the Aztecs outscored their opponents by 127 points over the course of the season thus the 9 wins. RB Adam Muema rushed for 255 yards and 4 TDs in the Aztecs last regular season game and sophomore QB Adam Dingwell tossed 2 TDs in the 42-28 route at Wyoming.
BYU’s defense will definitely have their hands full in this bowl game with the Aztecs averaging 35 points per game the Cougars will need all 11 defenders to slow down San Diego State’s offense. The Cougar’s defense has been solid all year especially since they’ve had to offset a wishy-washy offense at times. The Cougars defense has a stellar core on the line as well as the linebacker positions and secondary. Notable games for BYU this season are the 47-0 shutout of Hawaii which isn’t really saying a lot considering Hawaii was terrible but the Cougars lost close battles on the road with now No.1 Notre Dame 17-14 and No. 19 Boise State 7-6. This BYU team is capable of playing with the best teams in the country which will serve them well against a tough Aztecs team who have home field advantage.
The Cougars have the edge in yards gained, 409 per game, yards allowed, 266 per game, and penalties at 6.4 per game for an average of 40 yards lost per contest. San Diego State puts more points on the board per game with 35.1 and they are more effective in the red zone as well as the kicking game.
BYU QB Riley Nelson was injured on November 17 in a loss to San Jose State but he is expected to return in time for the bowl game. If Riley doesn’t start the Poinsettia Bowl he will likely enter the game at some point assuming he is healthy enough to play. The Aztecs might be better off if Nelson stays on the sidelines as he will certainly look to have the game of his life as an outgoing senior. Before Nelson was suffered the rib injury he tallied up 13 TDs and threw for 2011 yards and 12 INTs.
The Cougar’s defense will hold steady and slowdown the Aztecs but it won’t be enough.
Wilson’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take San Diego St. to upset BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl 31-21. Luck to ya.
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