| | Poinsettia Bowl Home Field Advantage is Navy’s
There's no question which team has the home field advantage tonight in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. It is Navy by a big margin.
It is expected that well over 20,000 fans will be cheering on Navy since San Diego has the West Coast’s largest Naval port.
"It's great to have your fans there and hopefully we can feed off their emotion, but once it's kicked off and you get hit in the mouth, you forget how many people are watching," coach Paul Johnson said Wednesday.
"I think it's really more a tribute to what the Naval Academy's all about. We're fortunate here in San Diego that we have some military bases and a lot of people are stationed in the area, and hopefully they're proud of what's going on at the academy. We'll have a good level of support, I'm sure. Will it make any difference in the game? I hope so, but I don't know." Navy (7-4) is playing in its third straight bowl game, a first for the academy.
Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick doesn’t know what to expect.” Sometimes we play better under those circumstances, on the road with a hostile crowd," Lubick said. "I don't know if that will work this time."
It should be a game decided on the ground. The Midshipmen are ranked No. 1 in the nation in rushing offense at 305.2 yards per game. Navy gained a school-record 5.6 yards per carry this season. Quarterback Lamar Owens leads the attack with 830 yards and 11 touchdowns on 195 carries, and fullback Adam Ballard has 539 yards and six TDs on 94 carries. Ballard took over for injured fullback Matt Hall three weeks before Navy's 42-23 win over Army on Dec. 3.
"They're going to present a lot of challenges to us," said Lubick, whose defense allowed an average of 200.6 rushing yards per game. "I hope we can get the ball back once in a while during the course of the game. Nobody runs it was well or better than the Naval Academy. They do a great job with it."
Colorado State running back Kyle Bell is no slouch on the other side. He ran for 1,166 yards and nine touchdowns this year. Rams quarterback Justin Holland completed 62.2 percent of his passes in throwing for 2,804 yards and 20 TDs.