This year’s San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl pits Mountain West champs, TCU against Louisiana Tech, the champions of the WAC.
This game will mark the first-ever meeting between the schools in football.
The latest Poinsettia Bowl odds list TCU favored by 10 points and the over/under at 55.5 points.
TCU went undefeated in the Mountain West this season, earning their third-straight conference championship. They come into this game riding a seven-game winning streak after blowing out UNLV (56-9) to end the regular season. The Frogs earned a 5-2 record against teams playing in bowl games this year, suffering losses at Baylor and to SMU in overtime. TCU managed a 4-1 record away from home this season, including winning their last four games as the visiting squad.
The Frogs rank ninth in the country in scoring offense (42 points per game) while compiling 444 yards per game (234 passing, 210 rushing). Case Pachall heads the offense with 2,715 yards passing on 68 percent completions for 24 touchdowns and six picks, while the offensive line has allowed 13 sacks.
Wide out Josh Boyce is the team’s top receiver, grabbing 56 receptions for 932 yards and nine touchdowns, while Waymon James, Matthew Tucker and Ed Wesley anchor the run game with a combined 2,157 yards and 22 TDs on 6.6 yards per carry.
Defensively, TCU ranks 30th nationally in points allowed (21 ppg), surrenders 346 yards per game (220 passing, 126 rushing) and records 24 sacks while forcing 21 turnovers three of which converted to TDs (Tank Carder and Kris Gardner, three interceptions).
Four players lead this unit Kenny Cain with 67 tackles (sack, INT, fumble recovery), Carder with 66 (two picks), Tekerrein Cuba with 65 (two forced fumbles) and Johnny Fobbs with 61 (two forced fumbles, INT). Stansly Maponga has nine sacks and five forced fumbles to go with 51 tackles and two fumble recoveries.
James has a kickoff return for a TD, and Greg McCoy averages nearly 32 yards per kick return with two scores.
The LA Tech Bulldogs are probably one of the best teams you haven’t heard much about. They won seven-straight games to end their regular season as champions of the WAC. Three of their four losses this season came against teams playing in bowl games this postseason (Houston, Southern Miss and Mississippi State) and those three losses came by a combine nine points.
The Bulldogs rank a respectable 34th nationally in scoring defense (22 ppg), and surrenders 375 yards per game (253 passing, 122 rushing) while recording 32 sacks and forcing 29 turnovers six of which were returned for TDs (Jay Dudley, Adrien Cole, Terry Carter and Javontay Crowe, five interceptions; Chad Boyd, fumble).
Cole leads the defense with 120 tackles (28 more than any teammate) and three blocked kicks, adding two sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Christian Lacy has 8.5 sacks and 35 tackles, Dudley has four picks with 92 tackles and a fumble recovery, and Matt Broha has two forced fumbles, 42 tackles and 7.5 sacks.
Offensively, LTU ranks 41st nationally in scoring (31 ppg) while recording 397 yards per game (247 passing, 150 rushing). Nick Isham has completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,457 yards and eight TDs with seven interceptions in nine games.
Quinton Patton is the top receiver with 74 catches (24 more than anyone else) for 1,135 yards and 10 scores, while Lennon Creer and Hunter Lee anchor the running game with a combined 1,424 yards and 13 TDs on 4.6 yards per carry.
Ryan Allen, a finalist for the Ray Guy Award as college footballs’ top punter, averages more than 46 yards per punt. Craig Johnson has a punt return for a TD, and Lyle Fitte averages 26 yards per kickoff return with one touchdown this season.