Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/14/11
December 21st at 8:00am marks the kickoff time for this year’s San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl between current powerhouse TCU and a red hot Louisiana Tech team. After a disappointing two loss season, the Horned Frogs are looking to rebound with a win over a much improved LA Tech team, which has won seven straight games coming in. Here are three things to watch in this matchup.

1. LA Tech’s offense vs. TCU’s defense:
Since making a quarterback change earlier in the year, the LA Tech Bulldogs have featured one of the best offensive units in the county. Since current QB Colby Cameron took over the job, the Bulldogs are averaging a very impressive 34.8 points and 445.6 years per game. Their wide receiver Quinton Patton is also one of the best at his position, where he has put up 1,135 yards and 10 touchdowns throughout the course of the season. However, this offense will face no easy task when it faces TCU’s daunting defense. During their last few years of stellar play, the Horned Frog success has been predicated on the defensive side of the ball. This year is no different. The team currently ranks 9th in the nation in points allowed per game and 28th in total yards allowed. The most intriguing aspect of this game will be to see which unit is able to overcome the other first. The team that does so first will, in all likelihood, come out victorious.

2. LA Tech’s ability (or lack thereof) to overcome a national power:
While it stands to reason that LA Tech is disappointed with the losses that they have suffered this season, a 8-4 season and a Bowl game like this one is impressive for a team of this caliber. On the other hand TCU had National Title aspirations when this season began. The question here is the same as in countless Bowl games that are played this time of year. How will a mid-market team fair against a national power? This will rely a great deal on the mindset of the players, and most importantly, the leadership of the coaching staff. It will be very interesting to see how this LA Tech team fairs on such a big stage.

3. Quinton Patton vs. the TCU secondary:
I know I eluded this matchup earlier, but it is so important to the outcome of this game, that I want to re-examine it specifically. Simply put, Quinton Patton has been a flat out stud for the Bulldogs this season, especially since the teams made their quarterback chance. He has put up numbers that can match the best in the country at his position. On the other side, TCU brings in the 59th pass defense (in terms of yards allowed) in the country, allowing just 243.3 yards per contest. While the LA Tech offense against the TCU defense should provide the more important matchup in the game, this specific matchup is a big reason why. If Patterson is able to break loose for a big touchdown, the Bulldogs have a legitimate chance to pull the upset. However, if the stellar TCU defense is able to stand strong, they will set themselves up nicely for the win.

Taking all of this information into account, I believe that this will be a pretty good matchup. My prediction for this game is that TCU continues to do what they have done all season and smother the opposition with excellent defense. I say the Horned Frogs are victorious over the Bulldogs in a 27-16 game. 

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