“This is a great day for college football in San Diego,” said Wertz. “We’re excited to renew a longtime rivalry between the Aztecs and Cougars in this year’s bowl. This most certainly will be a game to remember for many years to come.”
San Diego State finished 9-3 in the regular season and 7-1 in the Mountain West en route to earning a share of the league title, its first since 1998.
“We are honored to be selected to participate in the 2012 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl,” SDSU head coach Rocky Long said. “The Poinsettia Bowl is one of the best events I have ever been involved with and it will be a tremendous experience for our student-athletes. Best of all, we will have the opportunity to play in front of our fans and that will make for a great atmosphere on Dec. 20.”
This year’s game marks the Aztecs third straight bowl appearance. They played in the 2010 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, beating the Navy Midshipmen 35-14 in front of 48,049 fans, the largest crowd in the seven-year history of the game. Last year, they traveled to New Orleans and were edged by the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns 32-30 in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
SDSU is currently ranked 16th in the nation in rushing (112.92). Much of that yardage is attributable to sophomore running back Adam Muema (#4), who leads the team with 1,355 rushing yards and 16 rushing TD’s. The Aztecs’ passing game is led by junior tight end Gavin Escobar (#88), who leads the team with 519 receiving yards and six TDs. Escobar, a 6-6″, 250lb target, was a semifinalist for the Mackey Award, bestowed annually to the nation’s top tight end.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Aztecs rank 2nd in the Mountain West in rushing defense, holding their opponents to just 140.25 yards per game, as well as recording seven tackles for loss (TFL) per game. The defense is led by junior defensive back Nat Berhe (#20) and sophomore linebacker Jake Fely (#42). Berhe leads the team with 87 tackles, to go along with 2 interceptions and 2 TFL. Fely has recorded 86 tackles on the year, including 11 tackles for loss and a team-high seven quarterback sacks.
The 2011 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl featured a 34-27 TCU Horned Frogs victory over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.
Tickets for the game can be purchased by calling TicketMaster at 1-800-745-3000, or by visiting www.poinsettiabowl.com.
San Diego County Credit Union®, title sponsor of the Poinsettia Bowl, is San Diego’s largest locally-owned financial institution serving San Diego, Riverside and Orange counties. SDCCU® has assets of $5.8 billion, more than 240,000 customers, 29 convenient branch locations and 30,000 surcharge-FREE ATMs. From FREE Checking with eStatements and SDCCU® Mobile Deposit, to home and auto loans, Visa® credit cards, money market accounts and business banking services, including commercial real estate loans; SDCCU® provides breakthrough banking products that meet the demands of today’s lifestyle and delivers banking services that save customers money. Federally insured by NCUA and an equal housing lender. For more information, visit www.sdccu.com.