Aztecs Rout Central Michigan Chippewas 48-11 in New Mexico Bowl
SDSU concludes 2019 with a 10-3 record, logging their fourth ten-win season in the past five years.
Contact/Follow @tedmcgovern & @MWCwire
With a top-5 defense in NCAA Division 1 football, the Aztecs might have deserved a better contest.
Albuquerque, NM- San Diego State handily squashed the Central Michigan Chippewas 48-11 in the unsponsored New Mexico Bowl. The Aztecs commanded the game from start to finish, at no time risking losing control. With such a pronounced win the game left many fans wondering what the SDSU elite defense would do against a truly formidable foe.
On Defense, the Aztecs picked the Chippewas not once- not twice, but three times before halftime, as a part of the five turnovers that occurred in this game.
The rout over Central Michigan (8-6) gave SDSU (10-3) double-digit victories for the fourth time in five seasons. SDSU went 11-3 in both 2015 and 2016 and 10-3 in 2017. The Aztecs were 7-6 last season.
San Diego State offense made a surprising impact in this game. A team that ranked 119th in the nation in scoring offense produced its highest points tally in nearly three years. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Jesse Matthews (3 catches, 111 yards, 2 TDs) and sophomore running back Jordan Byrd (17 carries, 139 yards, TD), were the game’s co-Offensive MVPs, played well. Senior quarterback Ryan Agnew had a great night going 18-for-31, 287 yards, 3 TDs/1 INT.
Redshirt freshman kicker Matt Araiza, who had a career-long 48-yard field goal as well as a 33-yarder, managed a single-season school-record 22 field goals on the season.
Aztecs mid-linebacker Kyahva Tezino was the game’s Defensive MVP. “We set a goal and we followed through with it,” said Tezino. “That was the whole goal at the beginning of the year, was to be one of the top defenses in the nation. We just came out and did our job. I’m not sure if this is the best defense, but it sure does feel like it, and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
SDSU came into the game ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense (12.8 ppg) and fifth in the nation in total defense.
On the third play of the game, Tezino blocked a pass at the line by Central Michigan quarterback Quinten Dormady, and made an incredible diving interception. This play definitely set the tone for the game.
SDSU safety Tariq Thompson added another interception near midfield midway through the second quarter.
The Aztecs effectively converted their turnovers into touchdowns.
Matthews opened the scoring with a diving 22-yard catch in the right corner of the end zone for his first career touchdown reception. One play after Thompson’s pick, Matthews added a 74-yard touchdown catch for SDSU.
The third interception came with 61 seconds remaining in the half. Cornerback Luq Barcoo’s interception in the end zone preserving SDSU’s 20-3 halftime lead.
Barcoo’s interception was his ninth of the season, tying for the national lead while setting a single-season school record in the Division I era (since 1969).
SDSU opened the second half with a 29-yard carry by Byrd, an Albuquerque native. That one run matched the entire rushing production of Byrd in the season’s previous nine games.
SDSU running back Chase Jasmin added a 2-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter to make it 41-11.
The Aztecs defense fought on. Thompson forced a fumble with 5 1/2 minutes remaining. Darren Hall picked up the ball and scored, his 20-yard touchdown completing the scoring. Central Michigan fumbled again on a punt return with 2:06 remaining, but SDSU took a knee rather than trying to score again.
The Aztecs defense rocked the Chippewas to their very core.
Said Rocky Long, ”“I’m going to say that this is the best defense, obviously, that we’ve had at San Diego State for the last 10 years. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Congratulations to the Aztecs- your 2019 New Mexico Bowl winners!