The headlines coming into this Saturday's Idaho Potato Bowl centered on Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack, but on Saturday afternoon, it was San Diego State Aztecs running back Adam Muema who may have helped his NFL future the most.
Well if this is Adam Muema's final game as an Aztec he is leaving quite an impression for NFL scouts who were here to see Khalil Mack.— Ted Mendenhall II (@TedMendenhall) December 22, 2013
Coming into the game, Muema flew under the radar nationally thanks to an injury-plagued front half of the season, but he managed to finish with 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns during the regular season.
That led to rumors, including a tweet from Muema (that was later deleted) indicating he was leaving early for the NFL.
If the junior was on the fence about leaving for the NFL, a 230-yard and three-touchdown performance en route to a 49-24 win over the Mack-led Buffalo Bulls may have put him over the edge.
Coming into the game, it was Mack—who had 94 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks and the NCAA record for forced fumbles in a career (16)—who was supposed to showcase himself for the NFL scouts on hand.
Instead, he ended up being a non-factor thanks to game-planning by the Aztecs. Some would say he received the Jadeveon Clowney treatment in this one, as he was simply schemed out of the game for the most part.
Other than a knockdown of a pass in the flat and a few stops on short-yardage situations, Mack's name wasn't called much during the action on the field.
Muema, on the other hand, was a steady force all game long and came through when his team needed him the most.
After Buffalo cut the Aztecs' lead to 14-10 in the second quarter, Muema capped off a five-play, 65-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown run to put SDSU up 21-10 with 1:06 remaining in the first half.
It was the first of four unanswered touchdowns that led to a 42-10 Aztecs advantage that Buffalo couldn't overcome in the second half.
Muema had a balanced day, with 13 carries for 92 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He followed that up with 15 more carries, 134 yards and a 30-yard touchdown in the second half.
One game won't make or break someone's NFL future, but going up against a fellow NFL prospect and outshining him will make scouts and general managers take notice.
So will being mentioned in the same sentence as some guy named Marshall Faulk:
Adam Muema now has his fourth career 200-yard game, trails only Marshall Faulk in school record books— Stefanie Loh (@StefanieLoh) December 22, 2013
If Muema wasn't sure of his NFL prospects before this game, he made people take notice of his skills on Saturday.