San Diego State has pretty much played the same kind of game week in and week out this season. Mix a little hard hitting defense with a few timely offensive plays and shake well for a close, one-score game that comes down to the fourth quarter of a win or a loss.
For a brief time, it looked like the team’s New Mexico Bowl would play out the same. Until it didn’t. Until it very much didn’t.
The Aztecs offense broke out for their best performance of the season in the final test of the year, rolling right along to a dominating 48-11 win in Albuquerque over Central Michigan to notch their 10th win of the season in convincing fashion.
Quarterback Ryan Agnew had thrown for fewer than 200 yards in half his games this year and was nursing a lower leg injury but naturally was a breakout player on Saturday afternoon. The senior wound up with 287 yards, three touchdowns (one interception) and was surprisingly great doing down field when needed. Jesse Matthews was on the receiving end of most of the aerial display and recorded 111 yards and two touchdowns on just three receptions — all of which came in the first half. Tailback Jordan Byrd also chipped in with 139 yards and a score on the ground as well.
This being a Rocky Long-coached team however, the defense was still the star of the show for SDSU. Kyahva Tezino had half a sack and managed an interception in the game while star corner Luq Barcoo tied the FBS lead nationally when he pulled in his ninth pick of the season. The defense forced five turnovers in all (leading to 21 points) and had three sacks in one of the more impressive efforts in the still young bowl season so far.
Unfortunately for Central Michigan, that spoiled what had been one of the most impressive turnaround campaigns in college football. The fact that the Chippewas were even at the New Mexico Bowl was quite the accomplishment given they won just one game last year. Still, the general no show in the game had to be a bit of a bummer given how they had rallied to win their division and look so improved on both sides of the ball this year. QB Quinten Dormady had things roughest of all as the lone source of offense, throwing three interceptions and completing just 11 passes on the day.
Not that it mattered at all the way the Aztecs were playing pretty much start to finish in this one to notch a 10-4 campaign and close out the year on quite the high note.