Tom Smart, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars quarterback James Lark (7)as Brigham Young University defeats Weber State University in football 45-6 Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in Provo, Utah.

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BYU (7-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3)

Thursday, 6 p.m. MST

Qualcomm Stadium

Natural grass, San Diego, Calif.


Radio: 1160AM, 102.7FM

Weather: Clear skies with temperatures in low 60s at kickoff.

The stakes

For San Diego State ... The Aztecs, who are playing in their third consecutive bowl game for the first time in school history, are looking for their first 10-win season in 35 years.

For BYU ... The Cougars are looking to finish what has been a disappointing season — featuring four losses by a total of 13 points — with a win.

The trends

For San Diego State ... The Aztecs are riding a seven-game winning streak. It's SDSU's longest single-season winning streak since 1977.

For BYU ... The Cougars have beaten SDSU five consecutive times. Their last loss to the Aztecs was in 2005 at Qualcomm Stadium.

The edge

San Diego State will win if ... it can run the ball, sustain drives and capitalize in the red zone against the Cougars' highly ranked defense.

BYU will win if ... it is balanced offensively, able to move the ball through the air and on the ground, and can avoid turnovers.

Player to watch

James Lark, BYU: The senior quarterback made his first career start in the regular-season finale against New Mexico State, and threw for 384 yards and six touchdowns. Will he get his second start Thursday? If so, can he be successful against SDSU's 3-3-5 defense?

Key matchup

BYU's run defense vs. SDSU'S run attack: The Cougars are No. 2 in the nation in rushing defense while the Aztecs are No. 16 in rushing offense.

Injury report

San Diego State: Senior running back Walter Kazee suffered a season-ending knee injury in the regular-season finale against Wyoming. Wide receiver Dominique Sandifer (ankle) is expected to play.

BYU: Quarterback Riley Nelson (rib injury) is expected to play. Center Braden Hansen (groin) will not play.

Next up

BYU visits Virginia in the 2013 season-opener on Aug. 31.


Date. . .Opponent. . .Time/result

Aug. 30. . .Washington State. . .W, 30-6

Sept. 8. . .Weber State. . .W, 45-13

Sept. 15. . .at Utah. . .L, 24-21

Sept. 20. . .at Boise State. . .L, 7-6

Sept. 28. . .Hawaii. . .W, 47-0

Oct. 5. . .Utah State. . .W, 6-3

Oct. 13. . .Oregon State. . .L, 42-24

Oct. 20. . .at Notre Dame. . .L, 17-14

Oct. 27. . .at Georgia Tech. . .W, 41-17

Nov. 10. . .Idaho. . .W, 52-13

Nov. 17. . .at San Jose State. . .L, 20-14

Nov. 24. . .at New Mexico St.. . .W, 50-14

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