The San Diego State defense took charge in the team’s 13-3 win over BYU. Photo credit: @SDSUFootball, via Twitter

San Diego State, awaiting word on its bowl prospects, ended its regular season Saturday by shutting down an impressive BYU offense in a 13-3 win.

The Aztecs, forced to rely on redshirt freshman Carson Baker at quarterback due to Ryan Agnew’s injured calf, took a 7-3 lead into halftime. Baker threw a 25-yard pass to tight end Daniel Bellinger with 13 seconds left in the second quarter to give the Aztecs a lead they would not relinquish.

BYU (7-5) had been averaging 30.3 points a game, and had outscored each of their opponents by 32 in the last two weeks. Yet San Diego State held the Cougars to just a first-quarter field goal. BYU missed two field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter.

Junior Tariq Thompson forced a fumble and recovered the ball, along with intercepting BYU quarterback Zach Wilson in the fourth quarter. He also recorded his first career sack.

With the win, the Aztecs improved to 9-3 (5-3 in the Mountain West). The teams played before 28,180 at San Diego County Credit Union Stadium.

The Aztecs put themselves out of contention for the Mountain West title in last Saturday’s loss to Hawaii, but have qualified for a bowl game. That extends SDSU’s school record of 10 consecutive bowl appearances. Incidentally, according to SDSU, that is the longest current postseason streak in the state among FBS and NFL teams.

“We didn’t play exceptionally well, but we played hard enough to win. so we’re pretty happy with nine wins. That’s a pretty good year,” said head coach Rocky Long.

Among the season highlights:

  • Spending three weeks in the Top 25
  • Enjoying their first victory in 23 meetings with UCLA
  • Securing the “Old Oil Can” trophy with a Nov. 15 victory over Fresno State

SDSU and BYU met for the first time in the regular season since 2010 when BYU was still a part of the Mountain West. The Cougars beat the Aztecs 24-21 that season. In addition, San Diego State fell to the Cougars 23-6 in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl.

 – Staff reports

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