With the win in Albuquerque, the Aztecs finish 2019 at 10-3, in second place in the West Division of the Mountain West Conference.
Central Michigan turned the ball over five times. Senior Kyahva Tezino set the tone about two minutes into the game with an interception that led to a touchdown from quarterback Ryan Agnew to wide receiver Jesse Matthews.
Agnew threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Jordan Byrd, a New Mexico native, stood out in his home town, with 139 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Jesse Matthews had two touchdowns while gaining 111 yards.
All Aztec fans’ mood right now: pic.twitter.com/jn9ncwKNal
— San Diego State Football (@AztecFB) December 21, 2019
The offense, which struggled in the second half of the season, dominated Saturday, with 510 yards to Central Michigan’s 277. The Aztecs had 24 first downs to the Chippewas’ eight. They sealed the win with 21 points in the third quarter.
The defense, which ranks among national leaders in nearly every statistical category, performed to its standard. Luq Barcoo and Tariq Thompson joined Tezino with one interception each. The defense held Central Michigan quarterback Quinten Dormady to 164 yards and no touchdowns.
Coach Rocky Long, who once coached in New Mexico, said his team “put it all together” Saturday.
Bowl officials named both Byrd and Matthews, a freshman, as offensive players of the game. Tezino received the honor on the defensive side.
During the awards presentation, Tezino called San Diego State “a blue-collar team.”
“We’re not about the flash,” he said. “We’re just going to come put our heads down and work every single day. We love being the underdog.”
yeah us too ? pic.twitter.com/eTmlPMbWFB
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) December 21, 2019
The teams played before 18,823 at Dreamstyle Stadium.
SDSU joined elite company with the win, posting its fourth season with 10 or 11 victories in the last five years. Just nine other schools can make the claim, with Michigan poised to join the group with if it can post a bowl victory on Jan. 1.
This is Long’s second win in three tries at the New Mexico Bowl. As New Mexico’s coach, his team lost in the inaugural game of the bowl in 2006, then won the following year.
– Staff reports
Updated 3:55 p.m., with stats and notes.