The 2019 San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl will pit the Pac-12 Conference against the Big Ten Conference this season. No. 22 USC will face No. 19 Iowa on Dec. 27 (8 p.m. ET, FS1). Here is the 2019 San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl preview. Rankings from The Associated Press Top 25.
No. 22 USC Trojans (8-4)
Perhaps the biggest storyline as far as the 2019 San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl is concerned, is that Clay Helton remains the coach at USC. Whether that will be a good thing for the program remains to be seen.
What has been good for the Trojans is the combo of freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis (3,242 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns, nine interceptions) and Biletnikoff Award finalist Michael Pittman Jr. (95 receptions, 1,222 yards, 11 touchdowns). The latter will play in this contest, which is good news for USC against a tough Iowa defense.
Defensively, the Trojans have been inconsistent, and allowed 30 or more points five times this season. USC, which has lost three straight against ranked opponents, won its most recent appearance in the Holiday Bowl, 23-21 over Wisconsin in 2015.
No. 19 Iowa Hawkeyes (9-3)
The Hawkeyes might not score a lot (23.8 points per game), but it likely will be their defense (13.1 ppg allowed) that plays a big part in the outcome of this contest. Star defensive end A.J. Epenesa (nine sacks, 13 tackles for loss) is slated to play before likely heading off to the NFL.
Iowa’s defense should put the team in position to win, but quarterback Kyle Stanley and a stable of running backs must find a way to move the ball on a consistent basis. Protecting Stanley, who has been sacked 21 times, is also a must.
One intangible the Hawkeyes have is All-American kicker Keith Duncan (Big Ten and Iowa single-season-record 29 made field goals), who was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award.
This seems like a fun matchup. Though it might not be a high-scoring affair, we expect it to be close and entertaining. Iowa’s solid defense against a potentially potent USC offense is something to watch, but the 2019 San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl could come down to the leg of the Hawkeyes’ star kicker.
Iowa 27, USC 26