2012 Poinsettia Bowl Breakdown: BYU vs. San Diego State

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Only Bowling Green/San Jose State, TCU/Michigan State, Wisconsin/Stanford and the National Championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama have teams whose combined defensive red zone chances allowed are less than BYU & SDSU’s 5.55 chances per game. All 4 of those games have totals lined less than this game.

BYU has the number 2 ranked defense in the country allowing 267.45 ypg (vs teams that avg 380.62 ypg), and they have held every team they played, except Oregon State, well below their offensive season avg (by 113.18 ypg). The Cougars also rank # 3 behind only Notre Dame and  Alabama in ppg allowed with 14.83 ppg (vs teams that avg 26.20 ppg).

BYU’s stout run D vs SDSU’s power run game

The Aztecs are 16th in the country in rushing, averaging 223.45 rushing ypg against teams that allow 194.87 ypg rushing allowed. They are one of only four teams in the country that have rushed for more than 150 yards in every game this season.

However, BYU ranks second only to Alabama in rushing yards allowed with 81.46 ypg against teams that avg 139.47 and have allowed just one team to rush for more than 150 yards on them this season, No. 1-ranked Notre Dame.. The Cougars have also allowed only 3 rushing TDs vs FBS competition all season. This will be the best run D, and overall D, that SDSU has faced all season.

“The bottom line is the strength of their team is running the football,” said BYU outside linebackers coach Kelly Poppinga. “The strength of our defense is stopping the run. So that’s the battle of the game, right there.”

The BYU offense has not been very good this season. Overall they’re averaging 27.78 ppg vs teams that allow 28.39 ppg. However against the 6 teams on their schedule that allowed 30 ppg or less the Cougars are only avg 14.17 ppg, scoring 21, 6, 6, 24, 14 & 14 points. Against the other 5 FBS teams on the schedule BYU scored 44 ppg vs teams that allowed 40 ppg. In other words, whenever BYU has played a defense with a pulse their offense has struggled to score.

The SDSU defense is nothing spectacular, they’re allowing a respectable 365.55 ypg & 23 ppg vs teams that average 404.53 ypg & 28.01 ppg. Those numbers will make the SDSU D the 6th best defense that BYU will face this season, behind Boise State, Utah State, Oregon State, Notre Dame and SJSU. Against those 5 teams the BYU offense managed 6, 6, 24 (in a blowout), 14 and 14 points (12.80 ppg vs teams that allowed 17.08 ppg). SDSU D has also held 7 of 11 teams below their offensive season average.

So on paper we have a very average SDSU offense going up against an elite BYU defense. And we have a slightly less than average BYU offense going up against a slightly better than average SDSU D. First team to 20 wins this game. For another great analysis of this game and some more great stats that also support a low scoring game, check out Sabert’s bowl thread.

BYU 24

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