FRISCO, Texas — When Ohio (8-4) takes on San Diego State (7-5) on Wednesday night in the DXL Frisco Bowl, an explosive offense will meet a daunting defense.
The Bobcats boast one of the nation’s most prolific offenses, while the Aztecs are stout defensively, and they carry impressive stats with them. The game will likely be decided by how well Ohio can play against SDSU’s defense.
The Bobcats and Aztecs have never met. Ohio is 3-8 all time in bowl games. SDSU is 8-8.
DXL Frisco Bowl
When: Dec. 19
Where: Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas
Network: ESPN, 8 p.m. EST
Line: Ohio (-3)
The SDSU defense report: Coach Rocky Long emphasizes running the football on offense, and he wants to be a tough team on the defensive end. The Aztecs have been just that during his time in San Diego. After 12 regular season games, the Aztecs are the 20th best defense nationally, giving up just 327.4 yards per game.
As a defense, SDSU allows only 21.8 points per game. Its fourth nationally in rush defense, allowing less than 100 yards per game on the ground. Ohio’s offense, conversely, is a force on the ground. The matchup truly is strength-on-strength.
One area Ohio can capitalize and score on SDSU’s defense is in the red zone. SDSU is 103rd nationally in red zone defense; the Aztecs allow points more than 80 percent of the time in the red zone. The Bobcats score in the red zone more than 80 percent of the time. If Ohio can string drives together on the Aztec defense, it will be able to score.
Player to watch: Kyahva Tezino
The junior linebacker is the leader of the Aztecs’ defense, and he can do it all. He has 120 total tackles, 14.5 of them for loss, and 8.5 sacks on the year. He had double-digit tackles in six of the 12 games this season. His best game came with 15 tackles against Fresno State on Nov. 17.