BOISE, Idaho >>Adam Muema ran for 230 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 took control at the midway point, putting up 21 straight points during a 5-minute span in the second and third quarters. The scoring frenzy was fueled by two Buffalo turnovers, the first when safety Marcus Anderson picked off an errant pass by Joe Licata to set up Kaehler’s first touchdown toss to put the Aztecs up 28-10 at the half.
Buffalo coughed up the ball on the opening kick in the third quarter, setting up the Aztecs at the Bulls 26. Five plays later, Kaehler fired an 11-yard pass to tight end Adam Roberts at the back of the end zone to stretch the lead to 35-10.
The Aztecs (8-5, 6-2 Mountain West) won eight of their last 10 games. The victory is the first in the postseason since 2010 when they beat Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl and the first postseason victory outside San Diego city limits since 1969.
Kaehler, who took over the starting job in the third game, was 15 of 28 passing for 211 yards. His 29-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was his first rushing score of the season.
After getting off to a slow start, Muema picked things up in the second quarter, breaking off several long runs to keep Aztec drives alive. He finished with 230 yards on 28 carries, his fourth career game with more than 200 yards rushing. The Aztecs rolled up 460 total yards on offense.
For Buffalo (8-5, 6-2 Mid-American Conference), playing in its second bowl game in the team’s 100-year history, not much went right.
The offense was stagnant early and didn’t get its first, first-down until the 10:42 mark in the second quarter.
Sophomore quarterback Joe Licata, pressured throughout the game, struggled to find open receivers in the first half before the game was out of reach. He finished 13 of 30 for 196 yards and three touchdowns.
The defense, led by MAC Defensive Player of the Year Kahlil Mack failed to force the turnovers that were a hallmark much of the season. The Bulls came into the game with a plus-1.3 turnover margin, fourth best in the nation. Mack recovered a fumble near midfield in the first quarter, but the offense couldn’t capitalize.
The Bulls managed just 309 yards total offense. Running back Branden Oliver rushed for 114 yards on 28 carries.
The game was also marred by penalties. Altogether, both teams were flagged a total of 21 times for 176 yards.