Brett Baer nailed a 50-yard field goal as 30, in the New Orleans Bowl.
Baer originally lined up for a 55-yard attempt, but an encroachment penalty on San Diego State moved the ball forward, allowing the kicker to sneak his kick inside the left upright.
Blaine Gautier completed 24-of-40 passes for a career-high and New Orleans Bowl record 469 yards with three touchdowns and an interception for the Ragin' Cajuns (9-4).
Javone Lawson hauled in nine passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns, while Ladarius Green added five catches for 121 yards and a score in Louisiana's first Division I bowl game.
Ryan Lindley threw for 413 yards and three touchdowns on 28-of-49 passing for the Aztecs (8-5), who were seeking back-to-back bowl wins for the first time in school history.
Last year, the Aztecs recorded a 35-14 win over Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Dylan Denso had five receptions for a team-high 109 yards, while Colin Lockett added six catches for 85 yards and three touchdowns in a losing effort.