2011 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, California
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs #18 Texas Christian Horned Frogs
Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: TCU -11
Current Line: TCU -9
Opening Total: 55 1/2
Current Total: 55 1/2
Opening Money Line: TCU -350 / Louisiana Tech +290
Current Money Line: TCU -320 / Louisiana Tech +260
The Poinsettia Bowl is the first of four bowl games that match two conference champions against each other along with the Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl, and the GoDaddy.com Bowl. The #18 TCU Horned Frogs of the Mountain West Conference take on Louisiana Tech of the WAC. TCU is 10-2 this season under coach Gary Patterson. Louisiana Tech is 8-4 under coach Sonny Dykes.
The Horned Frogs have narrow losses at Baylor 50-48 and at home against SMU 40-33 in overtime. The Horned Frogs have won 7 straight games since the SMU loss. TCU has victories over bowl teams Air Force 35-19, San Diego St 27-14, BYU 38-28, Wyoming 31-20, and Boise St 36-35. The Horned Frogs grabbed one last Mountain West title on their way out the door to the Big 12 next season. TCU is making their 27th bowl appearance in history, including 13 in the last 14 seasons. Overall, TCU is 12-13-1 in bowl games. The Horned Frogs won the Rose Bowl last year against Wisconsin.
Louisiana Tech started off the season 1-4, but has since won 7 straight games. The Bulldogs have losses to Southern Miss 19-17, Houston 35-34, Mississippi St 26-20 in overtime, and 44-26 to Hawaii. Southern Miss, Houston, and Mississippi St are all playing in bowl games this year. Louisiana Tech has wins over Utah St 24-17, Ole Miss 27-7, and Nevada 24-20. The Bulldogs are playing in their 6th ever bowl with a 3-2 record. Louisiana Tech won the 2008 Independence Bowl against Northern Illinois in the last bowl appearance for the Bulldogs. TCU and Louisiana Tech have never played each other despite the two schools being less than 300 miles apart.
Louisiana Tech is averaging 397.5 yards a game, including 245.6 passing yards, and 151.9 rushing yards a game. The Bulldogs score 30.6 points a game. Louisiana Tech has 18 turnovers and has allowed 24 sacks this season. The Bulldogs are 84/218 on third and fourth down conversions, and 40/47 scoring in the red zone with 30 touchdowns. On defense, Tech allows 374.8 yards, including 252.8 passing yards, and 122.1 rushing yards a game. The Bulldogs allow 22.5 points a game. Louisiana Tech has forced 29 turnovers and 32 sacks this season. Bulldog opponents are 72/216 on third and fourth down conversions, and 26/28 scoring in the red zone with 18 touchdowns. The Bulldogs average 7 penalties a game for 64 yards a game. Louisiana Tech has 8 defensive/special teams touchdowns including 5 interception returns.
Louisiana Tech has used two quarterbacks this season. Nick Isham started the first 6 games, but Colby Cameron has started the last 6 games. Isham is 155/257 passing (60.3% completions) for 1,457 yards, with 8 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 2 rushing touchdowns. Cameron is 97/172 passing (56.4% completions) for 1,403 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Running back Lennon Creer has 198 carries, 838 yards, and 9 touchdowns, along with 18 catches, 93 yards, and a touchdown catch. He is doubtful with an ankle injury. Hunter Lee will get most of the carries if Creer can’t go. Lee has 115 carries, 586 yards, and 4 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 126 yards. Colby Cameron has 37 carries for 157 yards, and will get more carries to replace Creer’s production. Back-ups Ray Holley and Lyle Fitte are out for the season. Holley had 4 touchdown runs, and Litte had a kickoff return for a touchdown. Receiver Quinton Patton has 74 catches, 1,135 yards, and 10 touchdowns. He is doubtful with an ankle injury. Taulib Ikharo has 50 catches, 496 yards, and 4 touchdowns. David Gru, Myles White, and Richie Casey also get significant catches, and will have to step up production to replace the prolific Patton. Andrew Guillot is out for the season with a knee injury, but he only has 12 catches. Kicker Matt Nelson is 43/45 on third and fourth down conversions, and 14/19 on field goals with a long of 47 yards.
TCU is averaging 443.9 yards a game including 233.8 rushing yards and 210.2 passing yards. The rushing game is #20 in the nation. TCU is scoring 41.7 points a game, which is the 9th best scoring offense in the nation. TCU has 19 turnovers and has allowed 13 sacks. The Horned Frogs are 90/163 on third and fourth down conversions and 53/61 scoring in the red zone with 44 touchdowns. The defense was supposed to be the strength of this team but it hasn’t been as strong as expected. The Frogs are giving up 346.3 yards a game including 220.2 passing yards and 126.1 rushing yards. TCU is allowing 21.2 points a game. TCU has forced 21 turnovers and 24 sacks this year. TCU opponents are 74/196 on third and fourth down conversions, and 23/28 scoring in the red zone with 13 touchdowns. TCU has 7 defensive/special teams touchdowns this year.
TCU quarterback Casey Pachall is 213/314 passing (67.8% completions) for 2,715 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions, along with 60 carries for 22 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running back Waymon James has 107 carries, 824 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 10 catches for 113 yards. He also has a kickoff return for a touchdown and returns punts for the Frogs. Matthew Tucker has 116 carries for 684 yards and 11 touchdowns, along with 7 catches for 70 yards. Ed Wesley has 104 carries, 649 yards, and 5 touchdowns, along with 6 catches for 82 yards. Back-up quarterback Matt Brown has 6 rushing touchdowns this season on 24 attempts. Receiver Josh Boyce has 56 catches for 932 yards and 9 touchdowns. Skye Dawson has 41 carries, 415 yards and 4 scores. Brandon Carter has 23 catches and 3 touchdown catches. David Porter III, Logan Brock, and Luke Shivers have 24 catches combined but each has at least 2 touchdown catches. Brock has 3. Antoine Hicks also gets significant catches. Kicker Ross Evans is 57/60 on extra points and 13/16 on field goals with a long of 47 yards. He is questionable after being arrested for criminal trespassing just before the season finale earlier this month and could be suspended for the bowl game. If he is suspended, redshirt freshman Ryan DeNucci will handle the kicking duties. TCU linebacker Tanner Brock is out for the season.
TCU is 6-6 against the spread and the total is 9-3 this season. Louisiana Tech is 10-2 ATS and the total is 5-7 this season. The Bulldogs are 7-0 ATS after a straight up win, and overall, 6-0 after a cover, and as an underdog, 5-0 in non-conference games, 4-0 as an underdog of 3.5-10 points, 5-1 on grass, 13-3 against teams with winning records, 4-1 after allowing 20 points or less, 6-17 after scoring 40 points or more, and 5-17 after a straight up win of 20 points or more. The Horned Frogs are 6-1 ATS in December, 2-5 as a favorite as a favorite of 3.5-10 points, 1-4 after scoring 40 points or more, in bowl games as a favorite of 3.5-10 points, and against WAC teams, 1-6 after a cover, 0-6 in non-conference games, 0-4 as a neutral site favorite, and in neutral site games.
As banged up as Louisiana Tech is, TCU should win this game. The only question is TCU going to be motivated to play in a bowl before Christmas when they played in BCS games the last 2 seasons? Louisiana Tech has a top 20 rush defense and TCU has a top 20 rushing offense. TCU has given up some points this year, and this could be a shootout. I like the Horned Frogs to win a close game.