BYU and Wyoming face off in Poinsettia Bowl
SAN DIEGO — Fans attending Wednesday’s Poinsettia Bowl will have the opportunity to go snow sledding and pet animals before the football game between Brigham Young and Wyoming at Qualcomm Stadium.
All game ticket holders will receive free admission to the inaugural Dexcom Winterfest, which will begin at 2 p.m. in Section G-1 of the stadium’s parking lot. The Winterfest will include sledding on a snow hill, a petting zoo, Christmas music, lights and the opportunity to take a family photo in a giant snow globe. There will also be food trucks, carolers, a lounge where telecasts of sporting events can be viewed and an interactive football skills challenge.
A fireworks show will be held at halftime.
The Metropolitan Transit System will increase the number of Green Line trains providing service to Qualcomm Stadium beginning at 3 p.m., with trains running every seven minutes.
With the 6 p.m. kickoff coinciding with the peak afternoon commute, MTS is advising fans to schedule extra time to arrive at the stadium before the opening kickoff.
Transit center parking lots will be busy and trains will be crowded or at capacity by 5 p.m. Passengers attempting to board trains after 5 p.m. should expect delays as trains reach capacity at stations closest to the stadium, according to Rob Schupp of the MTS.
Extra Green Line service will be operating in both directions after the game as needed. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets on the MTS mobile ticketing app to speed boarding.
A crowd of between 25,000-28,000 is expected, Gina Beckman, the public relations and marketing director of San Diego Bowl Games Association, which operates the Poinsettia Bowl, told City News Service.
Brigham Young had accepted an invitation in 2013 to play in the 2016 and 2018 Poinsettia Bowls if it was bowl-eligible and not selected to participate in the College Football Playoff.
Cougars fifth-year senior starting quarterback Taysom Hill will miss the game due to a left elbow strain suffered in a 28-10 victory over Utah State Nov. 26. Hill won 23 games as a starting quarterback and accounted for 9,744 yards of total offense, fourth in school history.
Sophomore Tanner Mangum will replace Hill. Mangum started the final 12 games of the 2015 season after Hill suffered a foot injury in the opener.
Mangum threw for 3,377 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2015, helping Brigham Young to a 9-4 record and a berth in the Las Vegas Bowl. Mangum was selected as selected as college football’s Freshman of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus.
Mangum has “a different skill set” than Hill, “but hopefully with what we have practiced and things we have implemented, it’s not like it’s a huge departure from what we do offensively,” Cougars coach Kalani Sitake said.
Brigham Young (8-4) has won four consecutive games and seven of eight after starting the season 1-3.
The Cowboys (8-5) are among four Football Bowl Subdivision teams to have improved their record by six victories from the end of the 2015 regular season to the end of the 2016 regular season.
“We’re striving for national recognition and to return Cowboy football back to national prominence and this game has given us another opportunity,” said Wyoming coach Craig Bohl, the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year.
The Cowboys started the season 2-2, won their next five games, then lost three of four. Wyoming won the Mountain West Conference’s Mountain Division, but lost the championship game to San Diego State, 27-24, Dec. 3.
“I’m impressed with how hard they play and the fundamental and technique that’s being taught, which means that they’re well coached,” Sitake said. “I also like the way they take the field. You see they show sportsmanship and class on the field and that’s something I’m really big on.”
The Cowboys are averaging 230.8 yards per game passing and 208.5 passing in their pro-style, West Coast offense.
Running back Brian Hill has run for 1,767 yards, breaking his previous school season record of 1,631 set in 2015. He is Wyoming’s career rushing leader with 4,194 yards.
Both teams have plenty of experience with close games. Five of the Cowboys games have been decided by three points or less. They are 2-3 in those games. Six of the Cougars games have been decided by three points or less. They are 2-4 in those games.
The teams have two common opponents — Boise State and Utah State. Brigham Young lost to Boise State, 28-27, but defeated Utah State, 28-10. Wyoming defeated Boise State, 30-28, and Utah State, 52-28.