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BYU – No. 1 red zone efficiency defense in the nation.
San Diego State – Went 6-1 ATS during its current seven-game winning streak.
Beef O'Brady's Bowl
Ball State – Led the nation in tackles for loss allowed with just 40 against.
Central Florida – Quincy McDuffie leads the nation in kickoff return yards per game (34.2) and tied for most return TDs with three.
New Orleans Bowl
East Carolina: Lost all three meetings with non-conference FBS opponents, going 0-3 ATS in those games.
UL Lafayette – Ragin Cajun’ are home run hitters, ranking tops in the country in plays of 70-plus yards from the line of scrimmage with eight.
Cougars are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games in December.
Cougars are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
Cougars are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 vs. MWC.
Cougars are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 Thursday games.
Cougars are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
Cougars are 17-6 ATS in their last 23 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
Cougars are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games following a ATS win.
Cougars are 8-3 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Cougars are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 bowl games.
Cougars are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Bowl games.
Cougars are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games on grass.
Cougars are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games overall.
Cougars are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
Cougars are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
Cougars are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games following a S.U. win.
Cougars are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
Cougars are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a SU win of more than 20 points.
Aztecs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
Aztecs are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
Aztecs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a S.U. win.
Aztecs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
Aztecs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
Aztecs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. INDEP.
Aztecs are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
Aztecs are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
Aztecs are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
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 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.
The Cougars coming in playing well having won three of their last four games overall. All three wins came by 24 or more points, including a 41-17 victory at Georgia Tech. Their lone loss during this stretch came on the road against an underrated San Jose State team by a final of 14-20.
San Diego State has a solid offense, but BYU has the antidote with one of the best defenses in the FBS. It is allowing just 14.7 points per game while ranking 3rd in the country in total defense at 266.3 yards per game.
The Cougars aren’t too shabby offensively either as they are scoring 29.2 points/game while ranking 54th in the country in total offense at 409.1 yards per game. Backup QB James Lark threw for 384 yards and six touchdowns in their season finale against New Mexico State. Starter Riley Nelson is supposed to be healthy for the bowl game, but whoever is under center gives the Cougars an excellent chance to succeed offensively.
The Aztecs have been going under the radar all season. Head coach Rocky Long has done a tremendous job of keeping this program playing at a high level after the departure of former head coach Brady Hoke to Michigan. They won nine game this year and have somehow managed to stay off the map.
Some of their wins have been very impressive to say the least. They won at Boise State and at Nevada, and their only losses this season came to Washington, San Jose State and Fresno State all by 12 points or less. San Diego State enters the Poinsettia Bowl on a seven-game winning streak, so this is one of the hottest teams in the country.
This is essentially a home game for the Aztecs as it will be played inside Qualcomm Stadium. They are 6-1 at home this season, scoring 38.1 points per game while allowing just 19.4 points per game. They are outscoring opponents by a whopping 18.7 points per game at home this year.
The Aztecs rank 28th in the nation in scoring at 35.1 points per game. Most of their damage has come on the ground and they rank 16th with 229.2 rushing yards per game. Sophomore running back Adam Muema had a big year averaging 6.4 yards per carry on his way to 1355 yards and 16 touchdowns. Senior Walter Kazee also saw his share of carries and had 822 yards and 8 touchdowns. Sophomore Adam Dingwell took over at quarterback when starter Ryan Katz went down with a season ending injury. Dingwell completed 61% of his passes and led the Aztecs to a victory in each of his starts.
BYU was stellar on defense this season. The Cougars rank 5th in the nation in scoring defense giving up just 14.7 points per game. They were especially tough against the run giving up just 84.3 yards per game on the ground, second best behind Alabama. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy is a playmaker on defense and has racked up 11.5 sacks this year.