The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl kicks off tonight and it matches up the San Diego State Aztecs with the BYU Cougars. It’s a classic matchup of offense against defense between a pair of old rivals. The key will be the battle between SDSU’s running game and the defense of BYU, which is keyed by linebacker Brandon Ogletree.
The senior linebacker has been the mainstay of the Cougars defense this season, leading the team in tackles with 91 on the year, averaging over 7.5 per game. He’s been a force all over the field, including the backfield where he’s made 10.5 tackles for loss, all of which have come against the run. Ogletree isn’t going to get after the passer, with no sacks on the season and just one quarterback pressure, but he has been a run-stopper all season long.
He is the anchor of one of the best defenses in the country this season. BYU ranks as the third overall defense in FBS, giving up just 266.3 yards per game and second against the run. They allow opponents on average just 84.3 yards rushing per game and they are the fifth best scoring defense in college football, allowing just 14.7 points per game.
Ogletree is a major reason for it. He’s been a consistent disruption in the backfield, recording a tackle for loss in seven games this season while also making plays down the field. He is the centerpiece to this Cougar defense and the key for them to stop the Aztecs’ running game.
He will have his hands full tonight with SDSU’s Adam Muema who averaged almost 113 yards per game during the regular season. The sophomore racked up 1,355 yards rushing this season, scoring 17 total touchdowns. He’s coming off a career-day against the Wyoming Cowboys, rushing for 255 yards with four touchdowns in the Aztecs’ regular season finale.
Tonight, Muema will be square in the sights of Ogletree, who has made a living this season tracking down running backs. Watch for No. 44 of BYU to be flying all over the field tonight as he tries to stifle the Aztecs’ offense and bring a bowl victory back to Provo.