San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
San Diego State (8-4) vs. Navy (9-3)
Thursday December 23, 2010
8:00 p.m. Eastern, ESPN
Twitter – @CFBExaminer, @PoinsettiaBowl
Days of rain have caused California Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare parts of California to be in a state of emergency including San Diego, the site of Thursday night’s San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl between the home town San Diego State Aztecs and the Navy Midshipmen. With a Navy base right in San Diego and the home team playing in the same bowl game a large crowd is expected to be on hand for the game. That is, if there is anywhere for the 50,000 plus expected to be on hand to park.
Qualcomm Stadium’s playing surface has been flooded by approximately ten inches of water and the surrounding parking lots are no better. San Diego typically receives ten inches of rain per year according to the National Weather Service. Representatives of the bowl still expect for the game to be played as rain is forecasted to be letting up Thursday and allow for pumps to remove water from the playing surface in time for the start of the game.
“We have every intention of kicking off at 5:06 p.m. [local time],” executive director Bruce Binkowski told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “The stadium grounds crew work will work round the clock to make sure they get in the game.”
Seeking Validation: San Diego Sports Examiner Gerald Nicdao writes that both teams are looking to prove something in the Poinsettia Bowl.
No matter what efforts are required to clear the field for the Poinsettia Bowl, the playing surface figures to be swampy and that could be bad news for Navy. The Midshipmen are built on the running game and if the field is like playing on a sponge then it could be an advantage for San Diego State.
Navy’s offense starts with quarterback Ricky Dobbs leading the triple option. Dobbs leads the Midshipmen with 860 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns scored to go along with his 1,380 passing yards and 12 touchdown passes. Dobbs, who missed one game this season, threw for 186 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Army Navy game in Philadelphia. It marked the second time this season Dobbs passed for over 100 yards in consecutive games. Dobbs is in an offensive system though that does not focus on the passing game. Only once this season has Dobbs attempted more than 20 passes and only once has he completed more than eight passes (both against Duke).
“He’s a great player. He runs that offense really well,” San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke said of Dobbs. “He looks like a great leader and he keeps the ball more than anyone on that offense, by far. He’s a great runner and can throw it around a little bit as well. He’ll be a big challenge for us.”
The senior captain was just named the recipient of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award for football. The award is presented annually to division I senior athletes who have excelled not only in their particular sport but also in the classroom and community, showing that Dobbs is not only a good example on the field but off of it as well.
Navy’s running game also has running back Alexander Teich to cause trouble. Teich has rushed for 825 yards and five touchdowns (both second behind Dobbs) this season and gives San Diego State multiple players to focus on. Navy’s entire offense will look to avoid turning the ball over, something they got away with against Army. The usually solid ball-control offense turned the ball over four times against rival Army. Against San Diego State the Midshipmen will face one of the toughest rush defenses in the Mountain West Conference. San Diego State allowed the third-fewest rushing yards in the conference this season. “You have to stop the fullback,” Hoke said of stopping Navy. “Either after the fake or when he has it, he’s the one getting down the field cutting linebackers and alley players. You have to stop him,” he said.
San Diego State will hope to pass their way to victory in a game that will have the perfect contrast of offensive philosophies. Navy ranks fifth in the nation in rushing (San Diego State 63rd) and San Diego State ranks 11th in the nation in passing (Navy 117th). Aztecs quarterback Ryan Lindley has thrown for 3,554 yards and 26 touchdowns this season. Against TCU Lindley threw for 262 yards and a pair of touchdowns but two interceptions contributed to help prevent San Diego State from upsetting the Horned Frogs. TCU edges the Aztecs 40-35 in Fort Worth. The following week Lindley passed for a season high 528 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-34 loss at home against Utah. Lindley also threw three interceptions in the game.
Because Lindley throws so many passes in a game (398 attempts this season) the odds are good that a pass will be intercepted at some point. He has avoided throwing an interception in just three games this season and he has been intercepted 14 times this season. Even though he is prone to turn the ball over at some point, Lindley’s offensive potential should be enough to keep Navy’s defense on their toes and if the Aztec receivers can get any traction on what is expected to be a swampy playing field, San Diego State could benefit from the quick strike ability.
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