San Diego State steamrolled over Central Michigan 48-11. Here are the 5 things that matter in the New Mexico Bowl.
New Mexico Bowl: 5 Things That Matter
Final Score: San Diego State 48, Central Michigan 11
CFN Prediction: San Diego State 27, Central Michigan 16
Line: San Diego State -3.5, o/u: 40.5
5. San Diego State was due for a good bowl game
The Aztecs didn’t show up in last year’s 27-0 loss to Ohio in the Frisco Bowl, and was run over by Army – and never seemed to have the ball – in the 2017 Armed Forces. San Diego State played like a fully-focused and motivated team that wanted to put the last two years in the rearview mirror.
Both lines dominated throughout the game, CMU was only able to connect on two big plays, and this turned into a light and breezy win to make in a terrific ten-win season for head coach Rocky Long.
After the way Utah State lost to Kent State on Friday night, the Mountain West needed this. Central Michigan made it easy/San Diego State made it easy because of …
4. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers
Mock if you must – and you must – that of course the turnover battle matters when it comes to figuring out these things. Take your pick of how you want to call the analysis – it’s partly lazy, and it’s partly necessary.
San Diego State forced four takeaways, killed the momentum early on and in the red zone, and it was able to use the Central Michigan mistakes to own the battle. With the nation’s No. 3 defense, all the Aztecs had to do was come up with stops, hope for the offense to do its part to get ahead, and that was it, because …
3. Central Michigan’s offense fell flat again
The Chippewas were stuffed by the Miami University slow-and-go style in the MAC Championship loss – at least, they were slowed – and they couldn’t get anything going against a San Diego State team that bleeds the clock and comes up with a slew of big stop on the defensive side.
CMU managed a 66-yard Kobe Lewis touchdown run late in the third quarter after the coaching staff mixed things up a bit at quarterback, and Kalil Pimpleton took a pass 61 yards in the first half. That was about it.
The Aztec defense was hit with a few other decent pass plays, but it held CMU to under 300 yards of total O and didn’t give up any long, sustained drives, because …
2. The SDSU defensive front owned third downs
And a big fourth down sack on a corner blitz, too.
With five turnovers, eight penalties, and and just 277 yards, Central Michigan wasn’t sharp. But the key to the game was the inability to keep any drive moving.
The Chippewas were held to just seven first downs, were flagged ten times, and converted 4-of-17 third down chances. The D did its job to keep giving the ball back to the O, and the O did it’s job because …
1. Ryan Agnew went out with a bang
This might be known as a low-scoring, always-bet-the-under, slow-and-go San Diego State team, but the offense opened it up, was balanced, and showed off its explosion with a slew of big runs and huge pass plays – the kind the CMU was supposed to bring.
Jordan Byrd ran for 139 yards and a score, and QB Ryan Agnew opened it up with a brilliant passing day to take over right away.
He completed 18-of-31 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns with an interception that bonked off a CMU lineman and floated up in the air.
Jesse Matthews took a pass 74 yards for one of his two touchdowns on three catches, Agnew hit his key third down throws, and the Aztec offense did more than enough to let the defense do its thing.
This was effectively over by halftime thanks to the passing game.
New Mexico Bowl History
Dec. 21, 2019 San Diego State 48, Central Michigan 11
Dec. 15, 2018 Utah State 52, North Texas 13
Dec. 16, 2017 Marshall 31, Colorado State 28
Dec. 19, 2016 New Mexico 23, UTSA 20
Dec. 19, 2015 Arizona 45 New Mexico 37
Dec. 20, 2014 Utah State 21 UTEP 6
Dec. 21, 2013 Colorado State 48 Washington State 45
Dec. 15, 2012 Arizona 49 Nevada 48
Dec. 17, 2011 Temple 37 Wyoming 15
Dec. 18, 2010 BYU 52 UTEP 24
Dec. 19, 2009 Wyoming 35 Fresno State 28 (2 OT)
Dec. 20, 2008 Colorado State 40 Fresno State 35
Dec. 22, 2007 New Mexico 23 Nevada 0
Dec. 23, 2006 San Jose State 20 New Mexico 12