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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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SDSU coach downplays home-crowd advantage in bowl game

I tweeted out some of SDSU coach Rocky Long's comments about what the makeup of the crowd will be like at next week's Poinsettia Bowl after he said them at a news conference on Thursday, but figured I would post them all here for those of you who have asked for more context.

In talking about whether the Aztecs are happy to be playing in a bowl at Qualcomm Stadium, Long said:

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"I think it is a special thing for our team to be playing in front of a home crowd. Now I also know how well BYU is followed. So if anyone thinks there is a home-field advantage, I am guessing that's going to be wrong.

I am thinking half the crowd will be for us, and half the crowd will be for them. So I think it is a neutral site, other than we have played in that stadium more than they have.

I hope we outnumber them. It would be really nice if we outnumbered them, but I have been in these games against them before, and it is usually a 50-50 stadium."

How good is this 9-3 SDSU team that went 7-1 in the Mountain West Conference and finished in a three-way tie for first place with Boise State and Fresno State?

Good enough to have been a contender for the Pac-12 title, Long said.

"I think we would be just fine [in the Pac-12]," he said, when asked how this year's team would have fared in that league. "I think we would be in a bowl game. I don't know if we would be playing for a national championship, but I betcha we would be in a bowl game and have a winning record."

When it was suggested to Long that BYU's offense is not all that special (the Cougars rank 57th in the country and are averaging 409.08 yards per game), the coach quickly said the offense at BYU has been good enough.

Coincidentally, San Diego State's offense ranks 58th in the country and is averaging 407.75 ypg.

"I think they are really good on offense. I just think that people try to compare them back to the years that BYU threw the ball 50 times a game. They are not that kind of offense anymore. They are more of a pro-style offense where they want to try to run the ball and use play-action pass," Long said.

"Their quarterbacks are really good athletes that scramble around and use their feet.

BYU was one of the very first programs to line up and spread you out and throw it around the ballpark, and threw it 50-60 times. I think they are very good on offense.

People that say that are people that are used to seeing what there was in the past. I think they play offense to their defense, because their defense is one of the top-ranked defenses in the country, so that's their approach, to have the offense tailored to the strength of the defense."

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One of the four men charged for their actions in the Halloween night brawl at the Provo Rancherito's restaurant that led to the dismissals of BYU football players Joe Sampson and Zac Stout has pleaded not guilty to two counts of misdemeanor assault.

Alexander Powell Jackman entered the plea on Thursday after making a mandatory appearance in Provo City Justice Court in front of Judge Vernon F. Romney.

A pre-trial conference for Jackman has been set for Jan. 15, 2013.

Sampson, Stout and Matthew Santos, a BYU walk-on in 2010, are scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 25, 2013, in the same court and will enter pleas at that time.



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