Three things to watch in today’s San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl between San Diego State and BYU:
1. The BYU starting quarterback is ... Coach Bronco Mendenhall has been coy all week about who will start this game: James Lark or Riley Nelson. Mendenhall said Nelson is questionable for the game as he recovers from a rib injury sustained against San Jose State. Lark started the season finale against New Mexico State, throwing for 384 yards and six touchdowns in a 50-14 win. Lark has gotten more reps during bowl practices, and Mendenhall has not ruled out the possibility of using both quarterbacks in the game. Stay tuned.
2. Keep an eye on Kyle Van Noy. San Diego State must be aware of the standout BYU linebacker at all times because he is a disruptive force on what has been an excellent defense. Van Noy leads the Cougars with 11.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss, and he set a school record with five forced fumbles. If the Aztecs hope to have any success running the football against this stingy defense, they are going to have to get Van Noy blocked and keep him out of the backfield. One other note: Van Noy also plays on special teams and has a blocked punt this season.
3. Streaks. San Diego State is in the middle of an unprecedented run of success, making a bowl game for the third straight year. That is the longest streak in school history. There are plenty of other streaks on the line in this game, as well: San Diego State is aiming for a 10-win season for the first time since 1977. The Aztecs are also hoping to win their eighth straight game. The last time the Aztecs won eight straight games in a single season was 1975. San Diego State also is hoping for its first win over BYU since Oct. 1, 2005, a losing streak that spans five games.