San Diego State running back Adam Muema was a one-man wrecking crew that even Buffalo’s Khalil Mack could not slow down. Muema rushed for 229 yards and three touchdowns to power the Aztecs over Buffalo for a 49-24 victory in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Muema scored on a short touchdown run early in the second quarter to give San Diego State a 14-0 lead on the blue turf in Boise. Before the game was over he would add touchdown runs of 8 and 30 yards as the Aztecs were in firm control of Buffalo. San Diego State piled up 461 yards of offense and the defense held the Bulls to 265 total offensive yards. San Diego State thrived on third down, converting half of their 14 attempts while the defense forced three turnovers by Buffalo’s offense.
Buffalo got as close as 14-10 in the second quarter but the Aztecs pulled away with a pair of touchdowns in the final couple of minutes of the first half. After capping a five-play touchdown drive with just over a minute in the half, San Diego State intercepted a pass from Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata to set up a drive from the 25-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage Dylan Denso hauled in a pass from Quinn Kaehler for a touchdown and a 28-10 lead at the half. San Diego State outscored the Bulls 21-14 in the second half.
Up 49-24 with the football and just 30 seconds to play in the game, head coach Rocky Long and San Diego State pulled a highly questionable deep pass down the left sideline out of nowhere. The pass fell incomplete, but the play was totally unnecessary and could have left some bitterness on the field. Fortunately San Diego State took a knee on the next play with Buffalo opting not to use any of their remaining timeouts.
San Diego State will have some challenges coming their way in 2014. The Aztecs will play road games at North Carolina and Oregon State in non-conference play. The conference schedule will also send San Diego State on the road to play Fresno State, Nevada and Boise State. The good news for the Aztecs is they will be playing a Fresno State team in roster transition and a Boise State program moving on from the Chris Petersen era. San Diego State loses 10 seniors who started this bowl game, but the Mountain West Conference could be up for grabs for any team that can find a way to get on track early on.
Buffalo will also have 10 seniors to replace in their starting line-up next season. The Bulls may have a bit more of a difficult time continuing the level of success they had this season in 2014, but the MAC can be anyone’s conference to win most years. Buffalo only has two non-conference games scheduled as of now, on the road at army and at home against Big 12 champion Baylor.
Buffalo’s search for the first bowl win in program history will have to wait at least one more year.