Rick Bouch gives his take on the upcoming San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl 2014 match-up between NAVY and San Diego State.
Navy Midshipmen quarterback Keenan Reynolds (19) throws a touchdown pass during the first half of the 2014 Army-Navy Game.San Diego State Aztecs running back Donnel Pumphrey (19) runs with the ball during the third quarter against the Air Force (Danny Wild/Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
(C+P) — The 2014 version of the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl may not be high on the list for fans who like to watch the popular up-tempo spread offenses of the modern game. Make no mistake though, this year’s game will be very exciting.
Two of the best rushing attacks in all of college football will square off against each other with the nation’s third-leading rusher, Donnell Pumphrey, leading the Aztecs to what they hope is a repeat of the 2010 Poinsettia Bowl. San Diego State, featuring a pretty good running back by the name of Ronnie Hillman, ran all over the Midshipmen on their way to a 35-14 victory. Pumphrey and company would like nothing more than to do it again.
The problem for the Aztecs is that they will have to face a Navy rushing attack that is second nationally averaging 345 yards per game. The Middies’ triple-option attack is difficult to defend. Just ask #4 Ohio State and a then No. 10-ranked Notre Dame. Navy gave both teams fits and will likely do the same to San Diego State.
Leading the Navy offense is junior quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who has been the starter since his freshman season. Reynolds has accounted for 2,008 total yards, 1,182 on the ground and another 826 passing. With 27 total touchdowns, Reynolds is what makes the triple-option go.
The Aztec defense, which is a very respectable 14th in the nation in scoring defense, may try to take away Reynolds, but they will also have to deal with running backs Noah Copeland and Chris Swain. Copeland is the team’s second-leading rusher with 889 yards, and Swain (621 yards) gives Navy three runners with more than 600 yards on the season.
Navy began the season just 2-5 but have gone 5-1 since including three straight wins to close the season. They defeated rival Army 17-10 Dec. 13. The Aztecs have not played since Nov. 29 when they finished the regular season with a 38-7 win over San Jose State (3-9). San Diego State will need every one of those days off to prepare for Navy.
Reynolds would like to close the 2014 Navy season just as he did last year. The Midshipmen defeated Middle Tennessee State, 24-6, in the Armed Forces Bowl. Reynolds ran for two touchdowns in the win.