College Football
Preview
San Diego State vs Cincinnati
When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, December 24, 2015
Where: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii



HAWAI'I BOWL STORYLINES

1. Mountain West Conference champion San Diego State will make its second trip to Hawaii in less than three months when its faces Cincinnati on Christmas Eve in the Hawai'i Bowl. The contest will be played at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium, which came under scrutiny last week when the U.S. women's national team cancelled its soccer match with Trinidad and Tobago, claiming poor field conditions and tweeting out photos of seams in the artificial turf coming apart, mainly on the sideline area. "We didn't have any problems when we played on it," Aztecs coach Rocky Long told the San Diego Union-Tribune of his team's 28-14 victory over the Rainbow Warriors on Oct. 10. "I don't think it was a concern when we were there."

2. San Diego State rolls into the game with the momentum of a nine-game winning streak, the third-longest active streak in the nation behind Clemson (16) and Alabama (10). That includes a perfect 8-0 mark in the Mountain West regular season and a 27-24 victory over Air Force in the 2015 Sports Authority MW Championship game at Qualcomm Stadium on Dec. 5. It was the 20th conference title in school history and second in the Mountain West era.

3. Cincinnati was a big preseason media favorite to win both the American Athletic Conference East Division and inaugural league title game. However, the Bearcats finished third in the East behind Temple and USF, which handed Cincinnati its worst loss of the season, 65-27, on Nov. 20. "(The Hawai'i Bowl is) one of the best bowls going," Bearcats coach Tommy Tuberville said. "I've coached in a lot of them, and unless you're playing for the national championship, what better place to spend the holidays than Hawaii?"

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Cincinnati -1

ABOUT SAN DIEGO STATE (10-3, 8-0 MWC): The big question for the Aztecs is whether starting quarterback Maxwell Smith, who passed for 1,529 yards and 13 touchdowns while throwing just two interceptions, will be able to make it back to play in the bowl game after tearing his left ACL in the regular season finale against Nevada. "I hope he gets ready," Long told Union-Tribune. "I'd love to see him start the game." If not, redshirt freshman Christian Chapman, who completed 9-of-14 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown in the championship game, will make his second college start and the Aztecs, who set a school-single season record with 3,061 rushing yards, will lean even more heavily on Donnel Pumphrey, the Mountain West's Offensive Player of the Year who has rushed for 1,554 yards and 16 TDs.

ABOUT CINCINNATI (7-5, 4-4 AAC): The Bearcats bounced back from the ugly loss at USF to edge East Carolina, 19-16, on Andrew Gantz's 42-yard field goal on the final play of the game in their regular-season finale. Junior quarterback Gunner Kiel, who began his career at Notre Dame, has completed 206-of-316 passes for 2,777 yards with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, with senior wide receiver Shaq Washington, who set a school single-season receptions mark with 88 catches for 971 yards and six touchdowns, his top target. Senior Hosey Williams (727 yards, 4 TDs) and sophomore Mike Boone (717 yards, 8 TDs) both topped the 700-yard rushing mark while junior linebacker Eric Wilson (103 tackles) leads a defense that ranked just 84th nationally and allowed 190.8 yards per game on the ground.



PREDICTION: San Diego State 34, Cincinnati 21
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
San Diego State 10-3 W9 31.4 17.2 6-1 4-2 6-2 0-0 9-0
Cincinnati 7-5 W1 36.1 30.2 5-1 2-4 1-2 0-1 4-4
Last Meeting
San Diego State Cincinnati
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/29/07 CIN 52 SDSU 23 377 65 312 547 263 284
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
San Diego State K. O'Connell 74.1 253 1 0
Cincinnati B. Mauk 73.9 257 4 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
San Diego State A. Henderson 3 23 7.7 0
Cincinnati G. Moore 12 84 7.0 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
San Diego State D. Mougey 8 90 11.2 0
Cincinnati D. Goodman 7 101 14.4 2
Touchdowns Player TD
San Diego State L. Hamilton 1
Cincinnati M. Barnett 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
San Diego State M. Smith 55.3 1529 13 2
Cincinnati G. Kiel 65.2 2777 19 11
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
San Diego State D. Pumphrey 284 1554 5.5 16
Cincinnati H. Williams 129 727 5.6 4
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
San Diego State M. Holder 23 425 18.5 5
Cincinnati S. Washington 88 971 11.0 6
Touchdowns Player TD
San Diego State D. Pumphrey 19
Cincinnati M. Boone 8
Quickchart Matchup
San Diego State San Diego State Off vs  Cincinnati Cincinnati Def
San Diego State 378.3 yards
Cincinnati 414.7 yards
San Diego State 4.9 yards/rush
Cincinnati 5 yards/rush
San Diego State 7.8 yards/attempt
Cincinnati 6.8 yards/attempt
Cincinnati Cincinnati Off vs  San Diego State San Diego State Def
Cincinnati 559.4 yards
San Diego State 287.9 yards
Cincinnati 4.7 yards/rush
San Diego State 3.2 yards/rush
Cincinnati 8.7 yards/attempt
San Diego State 6.6 yards/attempt