Adam Muema rushed for 229 yards and three touchdowns and Quinn Kaehler threw two scoring passes in San Diego State's 49-24 victory over Buffalo on Saturday in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
The Aztecs pulled away early, scoring three touchdowns in a 5:24 span stretching from the end of the first half into the third quarter. The scoring spree was fueled by two costly Buffalo turnovers, the first an interception just before halftime that set up Kaehler's 25-yard touchdown toss to Dylan Denso.
The Bulls then fumbled on the opening kick in third quarter. The Aztecs (8-5, 6-2 Mountain West) scored five plays later when Kaehler fired an 11-yard TD to Adam Roberts to go up 35-10.
Not much went right for the Bulls (8-5, 6-2 Mid-American Conference), playing in the second bowl game in the team's 100-year history. Buffalo had three turnovers and just 309 total yards.
Conditions: After a night of snow, the bowl game kicked off under ideal conditions at Bronco Stadium. It was 30 degrees at kickoff.
Keep an eye on: Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack is expected to be a top-10 pick in May's NFL Draft. Mack is the NCAA's all-time leader in forced fumbles (16) and tied for the NCAA's all-time lead in tackles for loss (75).
Crowd: It is a very small crowd at Bronco Stadium. The bowl had distributed 23,800 tickets for the game as of Friday afternoon. The game has not drawn fewer than 25,000 fans since Jan. 3, 2004 when 23,118 watched Georgia Tech crush Tulsa 52-10.
San Diego State drove 48 yards on its first possession and opted to attempt a 44-yard field goal on fourth-and-9 from the Buffalo 27. It was San Diego State's first attempt since Nov. 9. Wes Feer's low kick was blocked. The Aztecs have not made a field goal since Sept. 28 and have missed eight consecutive field goal tries.
Buffalo, which entered the game tied for fourth in the country in turnover margin, forced a fumble by San Diego State quarterback Quinn Kaehler on the Aztecs' second drive. Defensive end Brandon Crawford had the sack and the forced fumble. Mack recovered the fumble at the Buffalo 48.
Buffalo stopped San Diego State on fourth-and-1 at the Buffalo 21.
San Diego State 7, Buffalo 0 Quinn Kaehler 29 run (Wes Feer kick), 0:21. Drive: 4 plays, 55 yards, 1:06. Key play: Adam Muema had a 17-yard run on the drive's first play to move San Diego State to the Buffalo 38. Kaehler's touchdown was his first rushing score and longest run of the season.
San Diego State outgained Buffalo 154-22 in the first quarter.
San Diego State 14, Buffalo 0 SDSU Adam Muema 3 run (Feer kick), 11:55. Drive: 6 plays, 30 yards, 2:49. Key play: San Diego State linebacker Vaness Harris sacked Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata and forced a fumble. SDSU defensive end Cody Galea recovered the fumble at the Buffalo 30.
San Diego State 14, Buffalo 7 BUF Branden Oliver 10 pass from Joe Licata (Patrick Clarke kick), 7:51. Drive: 10 plays, 75 yards, Key play: Licata had a 15-yard pass to Fred Lee, and SDSU safety Eric Pinkins was flagged for a personal foul, adding another 15 yards, to give Buffalo first down at the SDSU 15. ... Oliver, a senior, had 33 career rushing touchdowns, but that was his first receiving touchdown.
San Diego State 14, Buffalo 10 BUF Clarke 38 field goal, 4:01. Drive: 6 plays, 25 yards, 2:40. Key play: Another personal penalty on San Diego State, this time on Galea, moved the Bulls into SDSU territory.
San Diego State 21, Buffalo 10 SDSU Muema 8 run (Feer kick), 1:06. Drive: 5 plays, 67 yards, 2:50. Key plays: Muema had a 22-yard run on the drive's first play. On the second, Kaehler hit Ezell Ruffin for a 39-yard gain.
San Diego State 28, Buffalo 10 SDSU Dylan Denso 25 pass from Kaehler (Feer kick), 0:33. Drive: 1 play, 25 yards, :07. Key play: Safety Marcus Andrews intercepted a pass by Licata that deflected off wide receiver Alex Neutz and returned it 22 yards to the Buffalo 25.
San Diego State 35, Buffalo 10 SDSU Adam Roberts 44 pass from Kaehler (Feer kick), 13:28. Drive: 5 plays, 26 yards, 1:23. Key play: Buffalo kickoff returner Boise Ross fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half. Denso forced and recovered the fumble at the Buffalo 26.
San Diego State 42, Buffalo 10 SDSU Chad Young 1 run (Feer kick), 8:18. Drive: 9 plays, 62 yards, 4:19. Key plays: Muema carried six times for 43 yards on the drive.
San Diego State 42, Buffalo 17 BUF Alex Neutz 23 pass from Licata (Clarke kick), 14:53. Drive: 7 plays, 73 yards, 2:20.
San Diego State 49, Buffalo 17 SDSU Muema 30 run (Feer kick), 6:40. Drive: 2 plays, 43 yards, :46.
San Diego State 49, Buffalo 24 BUF Fred Lee 10 pass from Licata (Clarke kick), :50. Drive: 14 plays, 75 yards, 6:04.