The BYU Cougars take on the Wyoming Cowboys at the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl. kicks into full swing.
Wednesday night in San Diego, the BYU Cougars and Wyoming Cowboys meet in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. Wyoming will have to rely on its dynamic passing attack — which includes wide receiver Tanner Gentry who led the Mountain West in touchdown catches with 12 on the season — while BYU will be looking to rely on its strong rushing defense and quarterback Tanner Mangum hope to lead the Cougars to victory.
BYU vs. Wyoming is the only bowl game of the day.
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 21
Start Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
Location: San Diego, Calif.
Venue: Qualcomm Stadium
TV Info: ESPN
The Cougars’ four losses this season have all been within three points or less, meaning that BYU needs to get out in front. BYU has been pretty steady this season despite losing quarterback Taysom Hill to injury. Tanner Mangrum has been solid as a replacement, and Wyoming’s defense has enough holes in it to provide Mangrum opportunities to get through to score. Senior running back Jamaal Williams works well with both Hill and Mangrum and has racked up 1165 yards this season. The BYU offense has been solid all season, and their bowl experience gives them a big advantage over the Cowboys.
Wyoming has been quite the force of nature this season, proving that when given the opportunity, they can rally back from behind and be the victorious underdogs. Brian Hill has been dominant this season, already tallying another 1000+ yard season for the second year in a row. That puts him fourth in the nation for rushing yards with 1767. If given the right opportunities, Hill might be able to push through BYU’s staunch defense and get the Cowboys on the board.
The Wyoming Cowboys finished the regular season 8-5 overall and 6-2 in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference. The BYU Cougars are ranked first among Football Bowl Subdivision Independents, finishing 8-4 on the year.
This will be Wyoming’s 14th bowl appearance and the team’s first appearance in the Poinsettia Bowl. It will be BYU’s 12th consecutive postseason trip and second appearance in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Poinsettia Bowl provides the old WAC rivals the 78th opportunity to face one another, a rivalry that dates to 1922.
BYU sophomore quarterback Tanner Mangum sat most of 2016 despite setting several freshman records in 2015 after Taysom Hill suffered a season-ending foot injury. Hill won the job back as a fifth-year senior, but will miss the final game of his career due to an elbow injury. Mangum will start the Poinsettia Bowl and take over what should be his team for the foreseeable future.
Wyoming junior running back Brian Hill ranks fourth in the nation in rushing. Hill, the Cowboys’ all-time career rushing leader, has 1,767 yards on the ground in 2016, breaking his own school single-season mark that he set in 2015 (1,631). He also has 34 career rushing touchdowns, which is tied with Eddie Talboom (1948-50) for the most in school history.
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This year’s Poinsettia Bowl is set to be played in San Diego on Dec. 21, making it the only major football game on the Wednesday before Christmas.
The Poinsettia’s quietly been around for a while, having started up as a bowl game in 2005. It’s featured a few really competitive games. The best might have been 2008’s, when an Andy Dalton-led TCU beat Boise State 17-16 in a battle of two great teams. Last year’s game was the most lopsided in Poinsettia Bowl history, with San Diego State putting a 48-point hurting on Northern Illinois.
The game is sponsored by the San Diego County Credit Union, as it’s been since its inception. That’s kind of interesting, given that bowl affiliations in this era change practically as often as organizers get dressed. This game’s stayed remarkably the same, even residing in the same stadium for all its time as an NCAA event.
Interested in how this has worked and will work this year?