San Diego State vs. Central Michigan: New Mexico Bowl fearless prediction and game preview.
San Diego State vs. Central Michigan: New Mexico Bowl Broadcast
San Diego State (9-3) vs. Central Michigan (8-5) Game Preview
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Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The New Mexico Bowl
– You owe us, San Diego State. You owe us for not deciding to play college football in last year’s 27-0 Frisco Bowl loss to Ohio. The Aztecs were dead in the water against the Bobcats, and it didn’t have any prayer of keeping Army’s running game from running wild in the 2017 Armed Forces Bowl. The program has only played one decent bowl game in its last seven. It’s way overdue.
– Central Michigan is going to be fired up after going 1-11 last season and in need of the first bowl win in the last four tripes. San Diego State might owe us all for last year’s bowl, and CMU owes us for its last two, dropping the 2016 Miami Beach to Tulsa and 2017 Idaho Potato to Wyoming by a combined score of 92-24. The coaching is there – Jim McElwain and his staff have been great – and there’s just enough offensive pop to break through the San Diego State wall.
– It might be one of the closest bowl games all season. That might not necessarily be a good thing considering the way San Diego State plays, but at least this shouldn’t be a total blowout. The last seven Aztec games were decided by ten points or fewer, and only one game was decided by more than 14. The team plays up or down to whatever team it’s dealing with.
CFN Podcast: New Mexico Bowl discussion, picks
Why San Diego State Will Win
– Defense, defense, defense. It’s all a part of the overall style, but the Aztec defense is really just that good. It’s second in the nation against the run, it’s fourth in the nation in scoring D, and it’s fifth in the country in total defense. The Central Michigan offense might be terrific, but it isn’t LSU or Ohio State.
Miami University showed in the MAC Championship win that it’s possible to slow the Chippewas down a grind. CMU lost to Buffalo – with the MAC’s best D – 43-20.
– To do this, Central Michigan has to dominate the turnover battle. That’s a problem against an Aztec offense that has only lost seven turnovers on the year – second-fewest in the nation – and CMU is 124th in the country in giveaways, -9 in its losses, and +2 in its wins. Also …
– It’s this simple: Central Michigan has to run well to win. The passing game is terrific, and the O can blast away with big plays, but the running game sparked everything else. The Chippewas were 8-0 when running for 135 yards or more – a relatively low bar – and 0-5 when running for fewer. Wyoming was the only team to run on SDSU for more than 135 – and it ran for 157 yards, and lost.
Why Central Michigan Will Win
– Somehow, someway, get up fast, and it might be over. San Diego State has no prayer of operating outside of its comfort zone. It has to keep the score low, control the tempo, and don’t score when it has to. There’s just enough of a passing game to rise up if needed, but that’s not how this team operates. Like Central Michigan, San Diego State would like to run to win, but …
– The Aztecs were able to beat Fresno State with the passing game, and it’s not a must to run wild to win, but the offense was held to under 100 rushing yards five times, and 130 yards or under nine times. The CMU defensive front is good at getting behind the line and held up well all year long. It was able to keep Wisconsin to under 200 yards – okay, okay, that’s because the Badgers used this game to practice the passing game – and allowed fewer than 100 yards seven times.
– Again, Central Michigan has to run the ball, but it needs to be sharp right away with the quick-hitting passing game, too. It has the star in WR Kalil Pimpleton to keep feeding – he caught 79 passes for 823 yards and six scores – as part of a receiving corps that spreads the ball around well. CMU has got to keep San Diego State’s defense off balance, and that comes from a decent tempo and mixing it up. It doesn’t take anything special – just get to 20 points and CMU has a shot.