ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In the 14th annual New Mexico Bowl, San Diego State bested Central Michigan 48-11. The game saw six touchdowns from five different Aztec players, including a fumble return by sophomore Darren Hall, which was the first defensive score in the New Mexico Bowl since 2006 when New Mexico recorded a safety.
The Aztec (10-3) defense started the game hot, with senior linebacker Kyahva Tezino intercepting a pass he tipped on Central Michigan’s (8-6) opening drive. Ryan Agnew connected with redshirt freshman Jesse Matthews, who made a great diving catch in the end zone for his first career touchdown.
After the Chippewas kicked a 33-yard field goal on their next drive, the Aztecs took control and scored the game’s next 27 points. Matthews, who earned Co-Offensive MVP honors, scored on a 74-yard catch-and-run pass in the second. He finished with three catches for 111 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sophomore running back Jordan Byrd, who shared Offensive MVP honors with Matthews, added a career-high 139 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown in the third quarter. Redshirt freshman TJ Sullivan also added a touchdown catch in the third.
That was more scoring than the stingy Aztec defense needed. SDSU recorded a New Mexico Bowl-record five takeaways (three interceptions and two fumble recoveries). Senior cornerback Luk Barcoo recorded his ninth interception in a season, which ties him for the FBS lead. Tezino, who earned the game’s Defensive MVP honors, finished with three tackles, 1.5 for a loss and 0.5 sacks.
The Aztec defense held Chippewas to just eight total first downs, which ties a New Mexico Bowl record for fewest allowed.