BBoise, ID (SportsNetwork.com) - Adam Muema ran for 229 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries to power the San Diego State Aztecs to a 49-24 victory over the Buffalo Bulls in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Quarterback Quinn Kaehler also accounted for three scores in San Diego State's highest scoring output in 12 all-time bowl appearances. Kaehler finished with 211 yards on 15-of-28 efficiency and threw touchdown passes to Dylan Denso and Adam Roberts for the Aztecs (8-5).
"I thought that was the best game we've played all year," said San Diego State head coach Rocky Long. "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."
Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata completed 13-of-30 passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns, two coming in the fourth quarter with the outcome all but decided.
Branden Oliver had 114 yards on 28 carries for Buffalo (8-5), which played in just the second bowl game in school history.
"It was a disappointing loss," Bulls head coach Jeff Quinn said. "You can't turn the ball over and expect to beat a good football team and that's what happened. We didn't play our very best."
Kaehler opened the scoring by running for a 29-yard touchdown with 21 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Not much went right for the Bulls, who went three-and-out on each of their first three drives before San Diego State linebacker Vaness Harris forced a Licata fumble on a sack early in the second quarter.
The Aztecs recovered the ball in Buffalo territory and padded their lead six plays later when Muema ran for a 3-yard touchdown.
The Bulls' offense finally came to life and Licata hit Oliver for a 10-yard TD. Buffalo's Patrick Clarke then kicked a 38-yard field goal to close the gap to 14-10, but San Diego State pulled away by scoring three touchdowns in rapid succession.
Two Buffalo turnovers fueled the barrage, the first a Licata interception just before halftime that led to Kaehler's 25-yard strike to Denso with 38 seconds remaining. Muema had rushed for an 8-yard TD 33 seconds earlier.
The woes continued for the Bulls, who then fumbled on the opening kick in the third quarter. San Diego State, once again, made Buffalo pay for the miscue, as Roberts caught an 11-yard TD pass to make it 35-10 with less than two minutes gone.
Chad Young capped the next San Diego State drive with a short TD run.
The Aztecs were the first team to make a bowl appearance following an 0-3 start since FIU in 2010 ... San Diego State evened its bowl record at 6-6 ... The Aztecs' previous record for points in a bowl game was 38 against Iowa in the 1986 Holiday Bowl ... San Diego State won its ninth straight game played in the Mountain time zone ... The Bulls also played in the 2009 International Bowl.