San Diego State won handily in the Idaho Potato Bowl, giving head coach Rocky Long his third consecutive season of at least eight wins. Buffalo, which enjoyed an eight-win season itself, proved unable to get a ninth.
For his troubles, Long was doused in 25-degree weather:
The Aztecs struck first in this one, taking a 14-0 lead just 18 minutes into the game thanks to back-to-back rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Quinn Kaehler sprinted in from 29 yards out near the end of the first quarter, and running back Adam Muema powered in for a three-yard score near the start of the second.
Buffalo would then fight back a bit, weathering those opening blows to slice into the 14-point deficit. Quarterback Joe Licata proceeded to find Branden Oliver for a 10-yard score, and after an Aztec three-and-out, the Bulls tacked on a field goal to close to within four.
Unfortunately, they would get no closer than that.
San Diego State only continued their strong offensive play, scoring 14 points in the final 1:06 of the first half to push their advantage to 28-10. An ill-timed interception from Licata helped make the second score possible, part of a stifling defensive performance by the Aztecs. They held Buffalo to an average of just 4.44 yards per play in the first two quarters, and harassed Licata in particular. Despite his touchdown pass, the sophomore from Williamsville, N.Y. completed just 7-of-18 passes for 108 yards in the first half, and finished 13-of-30 overall.
The Bulls hoped to generate some positive momentum for a comeback, but disaster struck again when they fumbled away the second half kickoff, their third turnover of the game. San Diego State would convert that Buffalo mistake into more points five plays later, as Quinn Kaehler hit Adam Roberts for an 11-yard touchdown and a 35-10 lead.
Five minutes after that, the Aztecs would go up by 32 points thanks to a touchdown run by Chad Young. Although the teams would trade a few more touchdowns, Young's one-yard plunge would prove to be the last nail in the coffin, making the final quarter and a half a mere formality.
The game would end 49-24, giving the Aztecs their first bowl victory since 2010.
Also noteworthy: a San Diego State pass to a FATGUY in the middle of the third quarter.
Rankings Ramifications: Neither team was ranked, and neither will be.
But Did They Cover? Buffalo was a one-point favorite. With the big loss, they did not cover.