ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Ryan Agnew passed for 287 yards and three touchdowns, Jesse Matthews caught three passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns and San Diego State won a bowl game for the first time since 2016, beating Central Michigan 48-11 on Saturday in the New Mexico Bowl.
Jordan Byrd ran for a career-high 139 yards and a touchdown to help the Aztecs (10-3) cap their 10th straight bowl appearance with a victory. San Diego State opened 7-1 record, then dropped two of its last three conference games to fall out of contention for a Mountain West title game berth.
It was a homecoming for San Diego State coach Rocky Long. He last won the New Mexico Bowl in 2007 as New Mexico’s coach. Long is 4-9 in bowl games.
San Diego State prevented Central Michigan (8-6) from sustaining consistent, with quarterback Quinten Dormady under pressure and forced to throw into tight coverage. He passed for 164 and threw three interception.
Central Michigan’s Jonathan Ward, who came into the game with 1,082 yards and 15 touchdowns, was held to 7 rushing yards and 26 yards receiving.
Kobe Lewis ran for 97 rushing yards, with a 66-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter.
San Diego State: The Aztec came into the postseason with its highly touted defense but concerns about an offense that took a lot of time off the clock to score. San Diego State attacked Central Michigan in the air and on the ground in a balanced attack to end with its 11th double-digit win season in program history.
Central Michigan: To overcome San Diego State’s nationally ranked rushing defense, the Chippewas needed big games from Dormady and Ward. However, both were held by the defense line. Central Michigan had to improvise and rely on Lewis, but it was not enough to overcome the pressure.
San Diego State: Cornerback Luq Barcoo is graduating after a strong season that included nine interceptions. That’s a significant blow for a defense that was ranked among the top 20 in various categories nationally. Yet, the defensive line and secondary remain young, and most starters are scheduled to return. The Aztecs open next season Sept. 5 at home against Sacramento State
Central Michigan: The Chippewas will look to building on their dramatic turnaround from a year ago when they won only one game to an 8-6 record. However, Central Michigan will need it to reshape its offense with the loss of quarterback Quinten Dormady and running back Jonathan Ward, both graduating seniors. The Chippewas open next season Sept. 5 at home against San Jose State.