San Diego State annihilated Cincinnati in the 2015 Hawaii Bowl Thursday, cruising to a 42-7 win over the Bearcats. The Aztecs played flawlessly from the opening kick, a kickoff that Rashaad Penny returned 100 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Christian Chapman was 8 of 11 passing for 113 yards and a touchdown. The Aztec running backs combined for 52 carries and 207 yards. San Diego State did not turn the ball over, while its defense forced three interceptions out of Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore. The Aztecs looked motivated and prepared.
Cincinnati? Well, not so much. At every turn, Cincinnati faced a decision and chose wrong. For instance, when deciding whether to put a defender with 10 yards of San Diego State receiver Mikah Holder, the Bearcats chose not to. It wasn't a good decision.
(All vines courtesy of @RedditCFB)
That touchdown extended the San Diego State lead to 14-0. Four plays later, Moore was given the option of throwing the ball to his own receiver or SDSU defensive back Malik Smith. Again, he chose incorrectly.
San Diego State ran a trick play later in the first half, a halfback pass that was defended well by Cincinnati, right up until Cincinnati safety Tyrell Gilbert chose whether to tackle fullback Dakota Gordon. He chose not to.
Later in the half, Tommy Tuberville lined his team up for a 55-yard field goal attempt. With the playclock winding down and less than a minute left in the half, Tuberville elected not to use either of his two timeouts. Instead, he watched as the play clock ran out and his team was flagged, and sent the punt team onto the field. It was a very bad decision on a field goal attempt, though not even the worst decision on a field goal all night.
They didn't get any better in the second half. In fact, the worst decision of the game came shortly after halftime, when Tuberville called the "fake field goal run with no blockers" play. Needless to say, it did not work.
The Aztecs converted that monstrosity into another touchdown, then finished the game on one final horrible Cincinnati decision. Facing third and 31 from his own 45, Moore made the one choice he could not make and threw the ball to an open defender again.
Every year there is at least one team in a bowl game that gets annihilated, be it from a month of rust or poor preparation or a simple lack of motivation. At the Hawaii Bowl, Cincinnati might have checked all three boxes.