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Ryan Agnew Throws 3 TDs as SDSU Crushes Central Michigan in New Mexico Bowl

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO - DECEMBER 21:  Wide receiver Jesse Matthews #45 of the San Diego State Aztecs scores a touchdown against the Central Michigan Chippewas during the New Mexico Bowl at Dreamstyle Stadium on December 21, 2019 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)
Sam Wasson/Getty Images

San Diego State earned its first bowl victory since 2016 with a 48-11 win over Central Michigan in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday.

Ryan Agnew threw two touchdowns to help the Aztecs build an early 20-3 advantage, while the country's No. 4 scoring defense took care of the rest in an easy win at Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Jordan Byrd led a rushing attack that totaled 223 yards on the ground as San Diego State finished 10-3 for its fourth 10-win season in five years.

Central Michigan (8-6) couldn't end on a high note, but Jim McElwain still performed one of the best coaching jobs in the country after taking over a squad that went 1-11 last season.

        

Notable Stats

  • Ryan Agnew, QB, SDSU: 18-of-31, 287 passing yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
  • Jordan Byrd, RB, SDSU: 17 carries, 139 rushing yards, 1 TD
  • Jesse Matthews, WR, SDSU: 3 catches, 111 receiving yards, 2 TDs
  • Quinten Dormady, QB, CMU: 11-of-26, 164 passing yards, 3 INTs
  • Kobe Lewis, RB, CMU: 5 carries, 97 rushing yards, 1 TD
  • Kalil Pimpleton, WR, CMU: 3 catches, 71 receiving yards

     

San Diego State Surprises with Offensive Explosion

The Aztecs entered the game averaging just 19 points scored per game, going four straight without even scoring 20.

The offense wasn't a problem in this one.

Jesse Matthews was the star early on, scoring two first-half touchdowns including one for 74 yards.

Troy Hirsch @troyhirschfox5

We see why @SDSUFootball gave Jesse Matthews a scholarship. Former walk-on has 3 rec for 111 yds and 2 TDs in 1st half of New Mexico Bowl. #Aztecs lead 20-3.

Kirk D Kenney @sdutkirKDKenney

That quick-strike @SDSUFootball offense? Aztecs score in one play, a 74-yard TD pass from Ryan Agnew to Jesse Matthews for a 20-3 lead (2nd, 5:26). Drive took 13 seconds. Longest play of season for SDSU.

The big plays continued in the second half as SDSU scored three third-quarter touchdowns on drives of four plays, five plays and two plays.

The Show @TheShowSDSU

We're up by 24. Productive offense. Shutdown defense. On ESPN. This is a good day.

Luke Rodgers @thelukerodgers

San Diego State is rolling. 😎

The points were easily a season-high, Byrd rushed for a season high and Agnew was as effective as we have seen him all year. Freshman TJ Sullivan also scored an impressive touchdown on his first career catch.

San Diego State will lose some key players to graduation, including Agnew, but a loaded defense and playmakers such as Matthews and Byrd could help the squad in 2020.

          

Central Michigan Unable to Solve SDSU Defense

We knew going in San Diego State had an elite defense, and this game proved it even more.

Central Michigan was able to sneak in a few big plays to keep things close, including 66-yard rushing touchdown by Kobe Lewis and a 61-yard reception by Kalil Pimpleton. However, these were few and far between.

Kirk D Kenney @sdutkirKDKenney

Central Michigan has two plays totaling 127 yards against the @SDSUFootball defense. The Chippewas' other 41 plays in the game have also totaled 127 yards.

Otherwise, Quinten Dormady was under pressure all day long with defenders in the backfield within a few seconds.

It led to a number of sacks and three interceptions, including a historic one by Luq Barcoo.

GoAztecs Stats @GoAztecsStats

Luq Barcoo's nine interceptions this season rank: - 1st in SDSU's Division I history (since 1969) - T-1st in FBS - 2nd in SDSU's program history (12 by Ed Ricketts in 1951)

Dormady was held to 11-of-26 passing in what was arguably his worst game of the season, with only the Wisconsin loss coming close. Jonathan Ward had over 1,000 yards on the year but was held to 26 yards on 2.9 per carry Saturday.

With five total turnovers, it was a game to forget for this team.

Central Michigan should be happy to make it this far, but the offense will need to show more in big games if the program is going to take the next step.