San Diego State vs Middle Tennessee prediction, game preview, odds, how to watch. EasyPost Hawaii Bowl, Saturday, December 24
San Diego State vs Middle Tennessee EasyPost Hawaii Bowl Prediction Game Preview
San Diego State vs Middle Tennessee How To Watch
Date: Saturday, December 24
Game Time: 2:30 ET
Venue: Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex, Honolulu, HI
How To Watch: ESPN
Record: San Diego State (7-5), Middle Tennessee (7-5)
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San Diego State vs Middle Tennessee EasyPost Hawaii Bowl 5 Things To Know
– It’s been a weird year for San Diego State. The opening of its shiny new awesome stadium was a total flop – losing to Arizona 38-20 – to kickoff an ugly run of offense in a rocky 2-3 start that was a somewhat miraculous late drive against Toledo away from being even worse.
The team switched offensive coordinators, defensive back – and former Mississippi State QB – Jalen Mayden took over under center, and it all clicked. This isn’t the nasty team of 2021, but it’s solid now.
– Middle Tennessee had a rough start, too, going 3-4 with a strange loss to Louisiana Tech to be 4-5 going into the finishing kick. It won its last three games, took down four of the last five, and for that it got to go to Hawaii. Overall the team has been just okay, but the defense takes it away in bunches.
– This is the tenth bowl appearance under Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill, and the results haven’t been anything great until the last few bowls. The program was 2-2 in bowls up until 1964, and everything else has been done under the current head man going 3-6, but 2-3 over the last three including a win over Toledo in last year’s Bahamas.
– San Diego State is hit-or-miss in bowls. Only the 2017 42-35 loss to Army was a close game out of the last six appearances. The Aztecs pushed past a good UTSA in last year’s Frisco, and took down Central Michigan in a blowout in the 2019 New Mexico to make it four wins in the last six. Head coach Brady Hoke in his two stints at SDSU is 2-0 in bowls
– The Hawaii Bowl was canceled the last two seasons thanks to COVID, and it needs to come back roaring. The 38-34 Hawaii win over BYU in 2019 was good, and Fresno State and Houston played a good one in 2017, but six of the last eight have been double-digit blowouts.
Why San Diego State Will Win The EasyPost Hawaii Bowl
The defense is rested.
This is nowhere near the D that dominated throughout 2021, but overall it’s been a rock against the run since the midseason second half debacle against Boise State – and in the season finale against Air Force – and shouldn’t have too much of an issue against the Middle Tennessee attack.
The Blue Raiders have a hard time keeping defenses out of the backfield, they don’t do much of anything on the ground, and they’re going to need takeaways to manufacture points if the passing game doesn’t rock.
On the flip side, San Diego State found something in Mayden and the passing game. Middle Tennessee is statistically a rock against the run, but that’s because everyone spent so much time throwing. It allowed 300 or more passing yards in three of its last four games and over 400 in the tight win over FIU.
Mayden won’t bomb away, but he should be efficient. However …
Why Middle Tennessee Will Win The EasyPost Hawaii Bowl
Takeaways, takeaways, takeaways.
Middle Tennessee throws well and can run enough go get by, but it crushes teams by forcing mistakes with two or more takeaways in eight of the 12 games. It’s what the program does – it’s been great at it for the last few years.
San Diego State doesn’t has a massive turnover issue, but it’s not designed to overcome a slew of big mistakes. It turned the ball over multiple times in five games going 1-4 in those games. It was 6-1 when it didn’t give it away twice.
On the other side, Chase Cunningham is a nice veteran quarterback who should be a difference-maker. He threw for close to 3,000 yards with 19 scores, runs enough to be a problem, and he should be good for at least 200 passing yards.