Aztecs Take Down BYU 13-3 In Regular Season Ending Match
This was a key victory for San Diego State as coach Rocky Long considered BYU the Aztecs’ top competitor of the season.
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Quarterback Carson Baker shines during his college football debut passing for 172 yards and a touchdown.
San Diego, CA- SDSU completed the regular season with a 9-3 record by handing a loss to BYU (7-5) before an announced crowd of 28,180 at SDCCU Stadium.
BYU’s independent football program has no championship in which to participate, but will be headed to the Hawaii Bowl to play a yet-to-be-announced opponent.
The Aztecs are headed to a bowl game for a school-record 10th straight year, the only California school that can make such a claim.
The Aztecs will learn the identity of their bowl destination on December 8th. Many project the Aztecs will play in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl possibly against Southern Miss or UAB.
Quarterback Ryan Agnew was sidelined with a calf injury, which is expected to be healed by the time of SDSU’s bowl game. Agnew will start the bowl game, according to Aztecs Coach Rocky Long.
This was an opportunity to test the mettle of Carson Baker, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound redshirt freshman from Helix High. Baker did not disappoint.
Baker becomes the fourth straight Aztecs quarterback to win his starting debut, joining Ryan Agnew (2018), Christian Chapman (2015) and Maxwell Smith (2015).
Baker was 19-for-24 passing for 172 yards and one touchdown. His effort helped SDSU snap a six-game losing streak against the Cougars dating back to 2006 when BYU was still a member of the Mountain West.
BYU coach Kalani Sitake learned Saturday the Aztecs are no longer the team they faced years ago, and Aztecs defense lives up to its elite billing.
Aztecs defense forced three turnovers, two by safety Tariq Thompson, and limited BYU’s scoring capability to a sole field goal. Prior to this game, BYU’s offense averaged 39.8 points during a five-game winning streak that ended against the Aztecs.
This season, Aztecs defense allowed an average of 11.7 points a game when it was on the field, which ranks among the top six teams in the nation.
“Now that the regular season is over, I think our defense played as well as any defense I’ve ever been around,” Rocky Long said. “In the 10 years I’ve been here, that’s by far the best defensive performance when you count from the first game to the last game.”
Rocky Long’s Aztecs shed light on the veneer of improvement that came from a five-game winning streak against two good mid-major programs Boise State and Utah State- followed up by three serious lightweights Liberty, FCS Idaho State, and UMass.
San Diego State put on display exactly why they ranked in the top 10 among FBS defenses in both points and yards allowed, as they turned the Cougars flat and walked away victorious while debuting a quarterback.
BYU will need a strong showing in their bowl game to turn around the perception that they are treading water as an independent program.
In their yet-to-be-determined bowl game, San Diego State will have a good opportunity to realize their fourth ten-win season over the last five years.