Game to be played at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
Navy should feel right at home when it faces San Diego State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. Navy is playing in the Poinsettia Bowl for the fourth time since the game was introduced in 2005. The Midshipmen have dropped their last two visits, including a 35-14 loss to San Diego State in 2010.
The Aztecs, who have won eight straight games over military academies, closed the regular season with back-to-back triumphs over Air Force and San Jose State. Donnel Pumphrey was named to the Mountain West All-Conference First Team after rushing for 1,755 yards and 19 touchdowns. San Diego State is making its fifth straight bowl appearance and second Poinsettia Bowl visit in the last three years.
Navy’s triple-option offense will be tested by an Aztecs team that ranks first in the Mountain West in scoring defense at 20.1 points per game. While most teams have nearly a month to prepare for a bowl game, Navy will have 10 days between its regular-season finale against Army and the Poinsettia Bowl. The Midshipmen will be dealing with final exams before flying to San Diego.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The line opened at San Diego State -3 and has bounced back-and-forth between that number and the current number of -2.5. The total has stayed put at 54.
WEATHER REPORT: It should be a great night for football with clear skies, minimal wind and temperatures in the mid 60’s around kickoff.
INJURY REPORT: Navy – QB Keenan Reynolds (probable Tuesday, ankle), LB James Britton (questionable Tuesday, foot), SB Demond Brown (questionable Tuesday, ankle). San Diego State – DL Alex Barrett (out Tuesday, foot).
WHAT BOOKS SAY:
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “San Diego State should be well prepared to defend Navy’s triple-option offense. Aztecs’ head coach Rocky Long has a terrific track record against the Service Academy teams, and with almost a month to prepare, San Diego State should be ready. Navy just played 10 days ago, so they have the continuity edge. This game will be played in San Diego, so it’s a home game for the Aztecs as it also comes on their home field. But there is also a huge Naval presence in San Diego, so the Midshipmen will be well supported as well.” Covers Expert Steve Merrill
ABOUT NAVY (6-5, 5-7 ATS, 4-7 O/U): Dual-threat quarterback Keenan Reynolds heads into the regular-season finale with 1,082 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns along with 749 passing yards and five TDs. Noah Copeland and Chris Swain have scored a combined nine touchdowns for the Midshipmen, who average 34.5 points and 357.8 rushing yards. The defense is allowing 426.2 yards per game, but linebackers Daniel Gonzales and Jordan Drake have combined for 158 tackles while defensive end Will Anthony has eight tackles-for-loss.
ABOUT SAN DIEGO STATE (7-5, 6-5-1 ATS, 1-11 O/U): The Aztecs rank fourth in the Mountain West in rushing defense (145.6), and they’re just as tough against the pass, with cornerbacks J.J. Whittaker and Damontae Kazee both named to the All-Mountain West Second Team. Linebacker Calvin Munson has 78 tackles, 10.5 tackles-for-loss, four sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles for the Aztecs, who were 6-0 at Qualcomm Stadium this season. Quarterback Quinn Kaehler often takes a back seat to Pumphrey and the Aztecs’ talented offensive line, which is led by the 6-5, 310-pound Terry Poole.
* Navy is 1-4 ATS in its last five games following an ATS loss.
* San Diego State is 4-0 ATS in its last four games following a SU win of more than 20 points.
* Under is 4-0 in Navy’s last four neutral site games.
* Under is 11-1 in San Diego State’s last 12 games overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Sixty percent of wagers are backing the favored Aztecs at -2.5.