Are you ready for some college football? The championship bowl game season has kicked off and there’s much to celebrate if you live in the San Diego region.
The San Diego State University Aztecs defeated the University of Buffalo Bulls, 49-24, in last Saturday’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to help kick off the 2013-14 bowl game frenzy.
Over the next week, the San Diego Bowl Game Association, headed by executive director Bruce Binkowski, a South County resident, will roll out its two big annual productions at Qualcomm Stadium: the ninth annual San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl and 36th annual National University Holiday Bowl.
Both games feature attractive match-ups.
The Poinsettia Bowl is scheduled Thursday, Dec. 26, with a 6:30 p.m. kick-off on ESPN. This year’s game pits the Utah State Aggies (8-5) from the Mountain West Conference against the No. 23-ranked Northern Illinois Huskies (12-1) from the Mid-American Conference.
The Holiday Bowl, which follows Monday, Dec. 30, matches the Arizona State Sun Devils (10-3) fron the Pac-12 against the Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5) from the Big 12. Kick-off is 7:15 p.m., with the game also to be telecast on ESPN.
Tickets are still available for both games and fans are encouraged to ride the trolley to the stadium.
Tickets can be purchased by calling TicketMaster at 1-800-745-3000 or by visiting www.PoinsettiaBowl.com. Tickets can also be purchased at Qualcomm Stadium, Window F on game day beginning at 9 a.m.
Red and Black
SDSU evened its record at 2-2 in their last four bowl game outings after trouncing the University of Buffalo in last Saturday's Potato Bowl in Boise. SDSU running back Adam Muema earned game MVP honors after rushing 28 times for 230 yards and three touchdowns.
Aztec signal-caller Quinn Kaehler completed two touchdown passes while also rushing for a touchdown. Kaehler completed 15 of 28 attempts for 211 yards, with scoring passes going to Dyan Denso (25 yards) and Adam Roberts (11 yards).
Muema scored on runs of three, eight and 30 yards. Chad Young rounded out the SDSU scoring on a one-yard run.
Joel Alesi (Christian High School alumnus) punted once for 37 yards in the game, which was contested in sub-freezing temperatures. At kick-off, the temperature read 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Aztecs out-gained the Bulls 460-309 in total yards. SDSU rolled up 249 net rushing yards.
The game pitted teams from the Mountain West Conference (SDSU) and the Mid-American Conference (Buffalo). The Aztecs improved to 8-5 to end the season and 9-0-1 all-time against teams from the MAC.
The Bulls finished 8-5.
“I thought that was the best game we've played all year,” Aztec head coach Rocky Long stated in a post-game media conference. “I thought that we moved the ball well, caused some turnovers. Going into the game I thought the turnover battle would decide who won and that's exactly what happened. We just happened to be on the right side of that battle. I thought that's the best we've played all year. We played well on offense and we played well on defense. We made big plays."
Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata, who passed for 196 yards, completed three touchdown passes but was sacked four times. Marcus Andrews also intercepted a pass by Licata to set up a SDSU score.
The Aztecs led 28-10 at halftime.
SDSU, which opened the season 0-3, won eight of its last 10 games.
"I think the guys decided that tonight we were going to play up to our abilities and it showed,” Aztecs safety Nat Berhe stated. "It's kind of sad we didn't play like that all year, but at the same time, I'm glad it happened today.”
SDSU defeated Navy to win the 2010 Poinsettia Bowl.
The Qualcomm Stadium parking lot opens at 2:30 p.m. for fans who wish to get a head start on avoiding the holiday rush hour traffic.
MTS Trolley’s Green Line provides direct, frequent service to Qualcomm Stadium from the downtown 12th & Imperial, Gaslamp, Convention Center, Seaport Village, and Santa Fe Depot stations through Old Town and Mission Valley and from stations east of the Stadium to Santee.
The Green Line’s normal 15-minutes service will be enhanced (between downtown and Qualcomm Stadium starting at 4:45 p.m. until kickoff, and then again after the game. Regular Green Line service will continue to operate during the game. Fans may connect to the Green Line from all other Trolley lines.
Blue and Orange Line riders should transfer at the 12th & Imperial station. Orange Line riders can also transfer at the Grossmont Center Trolley Station. Fans boarding at any C Street or Park Boulevard station in downtown should catch an Orange Line trolley to the Santa Fe Depot and transfer there to a Green Line train.
For more information, visit www.sdcommute.com.