SAN DIEGO - Linebacker Kyle Van Noy scored two touchdowns on defense in the fourth quarter, one with the team trailing 6-3 and led the BYU football team to a 23-6 win over San Diego State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium.
"My congratulations to San Diego State on a really, really good football team and a good year," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "And to our team, another bowl game which is eight in a row now, winning six of the eight. The expectation at BYU is that we play in postseason games every year and that we win. That can only happen with great young men, which I'm surrounded by and the credit goes to them."
BYU (8-5) forced four turnovers in the fourth quarter and outscored San Diego State (9-4) 20-0 to overcome a 6-3 deficit.
After the Aztecs intercepted James Lark on 3rd and goal, the No. 3 total defense turned the tables on the next play and ignited BYU as Van Noy sacked San Diego State’s Adam Dingwell to cause a fumble, falling on it for the first touchdown of the game to put the Cougars on top 10-6 with 12:32 remaining in the fourth quarter.
On the next possession, BYU’s defense continued to make plays with Jordan Johnson recovering another San Diego State fumble. The Cougars took advantage of the momentum as Williams marched into the end zone from 14 yards out for the only offensive touchdown. A missed PAT attempt moved BYU in front 16-6 with 12:15 left to play.
The Van Noy show continued with a pick-six to finalize the score, 23-6, late in the fourth quarter. Van Noy was named the defensive MVP after finishing the night with two touchdowns, , a forced fumble and fumble recovery, one interception, a blocked punt, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and eight total tackles.
Senior Brandon Ogletree led the Cougars in tackles with 10 and added two tackles for loss. All-American Riley Stephenson helped flip the field for BYU with four punts inside the 5-yard line.
Junior wide receiver Cody Hoffman grabbed 10 passes for 114 yards to earn offensive MVP. Senior quarterback James Lark finished the night completing 23 of 42 attempts for 244 yards and two interceptions.
Following the game, assistant head coach Lance Reynolds announced to the team he would be stepping aside from coaching at BYU after 31 years with the team. The team honored him with a standing ovation in the locker room.
In his last game for BYU, Ezekiel Ansah stopped the Aztecs on their opening drive with his first career interception after Spencer Hadley tipped the ball at the Cougars’ 31-yard line.
San Diego State struck first with a 27-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 8:31 on the clock in the first quarter. Five minutes into the second quarter, the Aztecs scored another field goal after the Cougar defense held San Diego State on first and goal. The 23-yard score moved the Aztecs in front 6-0.
Lark hit Devin Mahina over the middle for a 38-yard reception to help put BYU on the board. The drive ended with a 23-yard field goal from Justin Sorensen to enter halftime down 6-3.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Cougars exploded in the fourth quarter and went on to score three times in the fourth quarter to finish the season with a 23-6 win.
"I'm happy with our seniors," Mendenhall said. "They showed heart and epitomized what BYU football is all about. They try as hard as they can, every game, win lose or draw. I'm surrounded by great company here, each has a unique story, what they have done here and what they have accomplished while they have been at BYU."
BYU vs. San Diego State - San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
BYU will travel south for the winter to play against San Diego State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 20 at Qualcomm Stadium. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Radio, KSL Radio 1160 AM, 102.7 FM and ksl.com
Visit the Poinsettia Bowl Central page for information on traveling to the game, tickets and more.
Fans should tune into the live Countdown to Kickoff pregame show at 4:00 p.m. PT on BYUtv and BYUtvsports.com. Also tune in to BYUtv and BYUtvsports.com for the live postgame show following conclusion of the game. Pregame radio coverage will begin at 3 p.m. PT on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM and BYU Radio (SiriusXM channel 143).
BYU (7-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3, 7-1)
Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012
5 p.m. PT
San Diego, Calif.
This is 36th meeting between former conference foes BYU and San Diego State. The Cougars hold a 27-7-1 advantage over the Aztecs. BYU won the last meeting, a 24-21 thriller in Provo in 2010 and also won the last trip to San Diego 38-28. In the 35 previous matchups the Cougars have outscored the Aztecs by an average of 33.5-19.3. In 2005, Bronco Mendenhall’s first year, San Diego State won 31-10 in San Diego and since BYU has won five in a row against SDSU. Mendenhall is 5-1 vs. the Aztecs.
BOWL GAME STREAK
BYU is playing in its eighth consecutive bowl game, the longest streak since a string of 17 straight from 1978-94. The Cougars have the opportunity to extend their bowl win streak to four, building on their current school record of three. BYU has won five of its last six bowl games and this will mark its 31st bowl appearance. San Diego State is heading to a program-best third consecutive bowl game and eighth overall.
HEAD COACHES WITH A HISTORY
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall and SDSU head coach Rocky Long go way back. Mendenhall served as Long’s defensive coordinator when Long was head coach at New Mexico from 1998-2002. He also worked with Long at Oregon State in 1995 as a defensive line coach when Long was the Beavers’ defensive coordinator.
FAMILIAR WITH BOWLS IN SAN DIEGO
While this is the first Poinsettia Bowl for BYU, the Cougars have a rich bowl history in San Diego. BYU has played in 11 Holiday Bowls in San Diego, more than any other team. The Cougars won four of them and tied for another. Among the great BYU wins was the 1980 game, nicknamed the Miracle Bowl. Jim McMahon led the team from down 20 points with four minutes left in the game to win 46-45 over SMU.
STRENGTH VS. STRENGTH
San Diego State features the No. 16 rushing offense, pitted against BYU’s No. 2 rushing defense. The Aztecs average 229.2 yards per game while the Cougars allow just 84.3 yards per game. SDSU ranks No. 28 in scoring offense at 35.1 points per game while BYU yields just 14.7 points, No. 5 nationally.