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Poinsettia Bowl 2014 game preview: San Diego State vs. Navy will feature two great rushing offenses

SDSU will look to make it back-to-back seasons with a bowl victory when it takes on Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl Tuesday at Qualcomm Stadium.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego State Aztecs are headed to their fifth straight bowl game this Tuesday when they play the Navy Midshipmen at the Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium.

Some may look at this bowl game as a reward for the Aztecs who underperformed throughout the season and will now practically get a home game to finish off their season.

Strolling into town, though, is Navy, who has the third-best rushing attack in the nation. The Midshipmen are no doubt hungry to play an Aztecs team that beat them in the Poinsettia Bowl in 2010.

This bowl game may not catch the attention of the average football fan, but there will be plenty of action, as two potent rushing offenses will look to seize control of the game.

Let's take a look at some headlines heading into Tuesday's game.

Pumphrey nearing history

It has been a season for the books for sophomore running back Donnel Pumphrey.

Not only does he enter the Poinsettia Bowl as the third-leading rusher in the nation and all-time SDSU sophomore rushing leader, but he also has a chance at one more prize.

Pumphrey needs just 88 yards to pass George Jones for most rushing yards in a season in SDSU history.

This would be a remarkable feat considering some of the running backs to come before him (Marshall Faulk, Ronnie Hillman, Adam Muema), and even more amazing because he is just a sophomore.

Considering Pumphrey's 146.3 yards-per-game average, there's a very high chance history will be made Tuesday night.

SDSU gets chance to salvage something

It hasn't been an easy season watching SDSU.

Just when you thought the Aztecs were on the verge of a big win, the opponent would mount a fourth-quarter comeback.

Not to mention the injuries to key players like senior wide receiver Ezell Ruffin, junior linebacker Jake Fely and senior quarterback Quinn Kaehler.

SDSU finished its season with back-to-back wins to help secure its bowl game, and it was just a Hawaii win against Fresno State in the final week of the season away from playing for the Mountain West title.

Rocky Long is a highly respected coach, and he won't be on the hot seat regardless of the outcome of the game.

However, much like last season, SDSU has the chance to roll past an inferior opponent in a bowl game.

While the Poinsettia Bowl isn't the prized jewel of bowl game, it's a chance for the Aztecs to win a game on national television and carry some momentum to next season.

What will Rocky Long dial up to stop Keenan Reynolds?

Most coaches lose sleep at night trying to game-plan for dual-threat quarterbacks like junior Keenan Reynolds.

Not Rocky Long.

Long has a unique approach to setting up defense, demonstrated by the 3-3-5 formation that he runs almost to perfection.

However, Long is not scared to deviate from the game plan when necessary.

Against Air Force this year Long switched back to a 4-3 formation to help counter the Falcon's triple option.

Navy runs a spread option offense, too. And Mr. Reynolds headlines it; he's the team's leading rusher and he has 21 touchdowns on the ground this season.

It would not be surprising to see Long set up some different defensive formations in order to confuse Reynolds and the Navy offense throughout the game.

Expect a 4-3 formation from time to time, as well as exotic blitz packages that will keep Reynolds guessing.