- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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BYU beat San Diego State 23-6 in the offensively challenged San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday night. Here is a quick rundown of how it happened:
It was over when: The BYU defense took the scoring into its own hands. The Cougars and Aztecs slogged it out for three quarters, combining for three field goals. The turning point came early in the fourth quarter, when BYU scored 20 points off San Diego State turnovers. It all started when monster BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy rushed quarterback Adam Dingwell in the end zone, forcing a fumble and recovering it for a touchdown. The Cougars recovered another fumble by Dingwell on San Diego State's next possession, and Jamaal Williams scored on a 14-yard run. Van Noy later returned an interception for a score. So BYU got a 20-point swing thanks to three takeaways from its exceptional defense, ranked No. 3 in the nation headed into the game.
Game ball goes to: Van Noy. What more can we say about Van Noy, who has been an absolute force the entire season? He added to his school record with his sixth forced fumble of the season -- the turning-point play in the game. Not only that, he also had a blocked punt earlier in the contest, and iced everything with his pick-six. BYU had only one defensive score all year headed into the game. Van Noy is thinking about leaving school early for the NFL draft. If he does, his final performance will be one to remember.
Stat of the game: 2. Van Noy scored more touchdowns than anybody on the field. Yes, you read that right. The most valuable defensive player was the most valuable offensive player, too. And BYU needed every bit of his offense, considering how badly Cougars quarterback James Lark and his teammates struggled to generate much of anything. BYU, a program that has developed one elite quarterback after another, has had major problems at the position for three consecutive seasons. It's head-scratching to say the least.