While it may not have the appeal of last night's Las Vegas Bowl. . .a game that, as predicted here at SB Nation Minnesota, was not a close game at all. . .tonight's match-up in the Poinsettia Bowl gives us two pretty solid football teams with very different styles, and should give us a truly entertaining game to watch.â†µ
Tonight's game pits the Navy Midshipmen, entering the game with a 9-3 record, taking on the pretty much homestanding San Diego State University Aztecs, who go into this one with an 8-4 record (5-3 in the Mountain West Conference). It's pretty appropriate that the Naval Academy is taking part in this one when one considers that over the past few days, Qualcomm Stadium. . .the site of tonight's contest. . .has shown the ability to be able to support a flotilla if necessary. San Diego is also the home of the largest naval base in America, and there will certainly be a lot of folks making the trip to the stadium tonight to cheer on the Middies this evening.
San Diego State, under the direction of Brady Hoke (who was allegedly a candidate for the Gophers' job) has shown themselves to have a solid offense, led by junior quarterback Ryan Lindley and, arguably, the two best receivers in the Mountain West Conference in seniors Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson. Combined, Brown and Sampson accounted for nearly 2,400 of Lindley's 3,554 passing yards and 17 of his 26 touchdown passes on the year.â†µ
When you think of Navy, you think of running the football, and with good reason. The Midshipmen average 288.9 yards rushing per game, good for the fifth-best total in the nation. Navy is led by senior quarterback Ricky Dobbs, who is very likely to go into the history books as one of the greatest players in the history of the Naval Academy. Dobbs leads the team in rushing this year with 860 yards, but right behind him is junior fullback Alexander Teich, who has 825 rushing yards and is averaging 6 yards a carry in the process.â†µ
If this one is being played on a muddy, nasty track, you would have to think that would favor a power running team like Navy over an offense that's more adept at airing it out like the Aztecs. Vegas has the Aztecs as the favorite by a field goal, so this pick is going to be a mild upset by those standards. If Dobbs can hold on to the ball. . .something he had a slight problem doing in Navy's season finale against Army. . .then the Midshipment will get the upset and get themselves to ten victories on the season.â†µ
SB Nation Minnesota pick: Navy 30, San Diego State 27
SB Nation Minnesota record thus far: 4-1