Instant Analysis: SDSU 49, Buffalo 24
December, 21, 2013
By Jeff Barlis | ESPN.com
The temperature got as low as 30 degrees in Boise, Idaho, but the San Diego State Aztecs had no trouble with the cold or the Buffalo Bulls, rolling to a 49-24 win in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
It was over when:Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata threw a tipped-ball interception that gave SDSU the ball on the Bulls 25 with 45 seconds remaining in the first half. Aztecs QB Quinn Kaehler capitalized on the next play with a strike to wide receiver Dylan Denso for a touchdown and a 28-10 halftime lead.
Game ball goes to: Aztecs tailback Adam Muema had 92 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in the first half. Then he exploded in the third quarter with 89 yards on 11 carries while showcasing his blend of speed and power to NFL scouts. The junior posted and then quickly deleted a tweet on Monday that said, "I'm declaring to the NFL, there's no secret." He finished with 229 yards and three TDs on 28 carries (8.2 yards per carry), highlighted by a 30-yard fourth-quarter touchdown for the Aztecs' final score.
Stat of the game: Buffalo had three turnovers, the last two of which cost the Bulls any chance of staying in the game. Licata's interception set up a TD before halftime. Then Buffalo coughed up the second-half kickoff return, setting up SDSU on the Bulls' 26-yard line. Five plays later, Kaehler gave the Aztecs a 35-10 lead with his second TD pass of the game. San Diego State also blocked two punts and enjoyed excellent field position throughout the game.
Second guessing: It was odd to see San Diego State attempt a field goal to end a very good first possession of the game, because the Aztecs hadn't made one since Sept. 28 and hadn't even tried one since Nov. 9. Even though SDSU was facing a fourth-and-9 from the Buffalo 27, coach Rocky Long might have been better served going for it. Wes Feer had his 44-yard field goal blocked. It was the eighth missed field goal in a row by San Diego State, which fell to 50 percent (8-of-16) for the season.
What it means: Buffalo looked overwhelmed in playing the second bowl game in program history, but after an 8-4 regular season, coach Jeff Quinn has the needle pointed up for the Bulls program. In contrast, San Diego State looked poised playing in the school's fourth straight bowl game. The Aztecs outclassed Buffalo on offense, defense and special teams. SDSU applied tremendous pressure on offense, as Muema and Kaehler struck an impressive balance.
To watch the trophy presentation of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, click here.