Poinsettia Bowl Pick
San Diego State
Navy is familiar with this situation, but getting less than 10 days to prepare for their bowl Game is something only they have to deal with. Not to mention, San Diego State will be playing in their home stadium for the Poinsettia Bowl. The Aztecs are still just a -2.5 point favorite.
The Midshipmen are coming off a 17-10 win against Army, their 13th straight in the rivalry. That makes it five wins in their last six Games, with the only loss coming against Notre Dame. It’s been a typical season for Navy, finishing at 7-5. They started off slow at 2-4, but eventually came around as the offense picked things up. This also happens to be their Fourth trip to this bowl Game, since it was introduced in 2005. They lost 35-14 to SDSU back in 2010.
As for San Diego State, they’ll be in the Poinsettia Bowl for the second time in the past three years (they lost to BYU 23-6 in 2012). The Aztecs finished with the same record as Navy and never really got going through the year having never won three straight Games. Their 30-14 win over Air Force was their only one against a team with a winning record.
In similar opponents, Navy lost at Air Force 30-21 and beat San Jose State 41-31. SDSU played both of those teams at the end of the year, closing the season with a 38-7 win over SJSU.
San Diego State leads the MWC in total defense allowing just 20 points per Game and that will be huge in stopping Navy’s triple-option. It also helps that they played a similar offense in Air Force just a month ago, stopping the Falcons to only 140 yards on 41 carries.
Even with veteran QB Keenan Reynolds leading the team, the Navy offense is about on the same level as Air Force’s. Reynolds is still the head of the team with 1,182 yards and 21 touchdowns, and he’s flanked by Noah Copeland (889 yards, 5 TDs) and Chris Swain (621 yards, 4 TDs). Due to SDSU’s experience against this type of offense, they should have a little edge.
On the other end, Navy’s defense isn’t great and hasn’t really stopped a solid offense all season. The Aztecs don’t have a great offense, but are a bit more balanced and also have a strong running Game.
Running back Donnel Pumphrey has unleashed in his sophomore season for 1,755 yards and 19 touchdowns. He has rushed for at least 131 yards in Four straight Games to go with seven total touchdowns. It wouldn’t be surprising if he continued that streak to five after this Game. The Aztecs don’t have a great passing Game behind Quinn Kaehler (9 TDs, 10 INTs), but if the running Game is going and the defense is making stops, he won’t need to do much.
Playing in their home stadium and with more rest, San Diego State looks like the smart play. But counting out this triple-option offense with the way they’ve looked toward the end of the season won’t be easy.
The Midshipmen are 18-5 ATS in their last 23 vs. the MWC and 7-3 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Aztecs are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight home Games and they’ve won eight straight Games over military academies.
We’ll offer up two opinions for this one. San Diego State coach Rocky Long has been successful against the service academies in stopping the option offense as shown in this years 30-14 win over Air Force (who beat Navy). We’ll lay the field goal here with the “home” team and we’ll also go under the total of 53.5 as these teams will run, run and run some more and will hopefully move this Game aong at a quick pace.
San Diego State -3 and UNDER 53.5