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Football Faces Buffalo in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

The Aztecs will meet Buffalo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday.
The Aztecs will meet Buffalo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday.

Dec. 15, 2013



Aztecs Face Buffalo in Boise in Fourth Straight Bowl Appearance
San Diego State (7-5, 6-2 Mountain West), winners of four of its last five games and seven of its last nine, advances to a school-record fourth consecutive bowl game to take on Buffalo (8-4, 6-2 Mid-American Conference) in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 21 in Boise, Idaho.

Game time is set for 3:30 p.m. MT (2:30 p.m. PT) and will be shown to a national television audience on ESPN. The contest can also be heard on The Mighty 1090 and 105.7 The Walrus.

The Aztecs became first team since 2010 and just the 19th team in the last 33 seasons (since 1980) to reach a bowl game after opening a season 0-3. By doing so, SDSU is one of just 29 schools to play in a bowl game every season this decade.

En route from rebounding from an 0-3 start, the resilient Aztecs played in a FBS-record-tying four overtime games (3-1) and had a stretch of seven consecutive contests decided by seven points or less (6-1). San Diego State overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to win an FBS-high five times in 2013, and on three occasions this season, the Red and Black overcame deficits of 14 points or greater on the road to claim victory.

A rash of injuries that forced starters Jake Fely, Zach Dilley, Sam Meredith and Gabe Lemon to miss considerable amounts of time, the Aztecs still had eight individuals earn all-Mountain West recognition by the league coaches and a media panel.

Senior Aztec back Nat Berhe became the first SDSU safety in the MW era (since 1999) to earn all-conference accolades in three consecutive seasons with this first-team honor this year. A three-year starter with the most starts on the team (40) and most consecutive starts (37), Berhe leads San Diego State in tackles (94) and solo stops (59) this season, and is tied for the team lead with two fumble recoveries. He also has six pass breakups, 5.0 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and a sack.

Earning a spot on the league's second team was senior left tackle Bryce Quigley. Quigley, who played tight end his first two years, is an all-MW selection for the second straight year at offensive tackle (second team this year, honorable mention in 2012). Quigley blocked quarterbacks Adam Dingwell and Quinn Kaehler's blindside (left tackle), anchoring a line that allowed two or less sacks in each of the final nine games. Quigley, a MW scholar-athlete, also helped running backs Adam Muema (1,015) and Donnel Pumphrey (750) combine for 1,765 rushing yards, averaging 147.1 yards per game. Muema is the Aztecs' fourth straight 1,000-yard rusher.

Six other student-athletes earned honorable mention honors, including four that have eligibility remaining after this year. Those that earned recognition as honorable mention players were senior kick returner/wide receiver Colin Lockett, junior running back Adam Muema, junior offensive tackle Terry Poole, junior Ezell Ruffin, senior linebacker Nick Tenhaeff and junior J.J. Whittaker.

Meanwhile, third year head Rocky Long guided SDSU to a 7-5 campaign and a record fourth consecutive bowl appearance. Long, who earned Mountain West Coach of the Year honors last season, has more winning seasons in his first three years (3) than San Diego State had in the 14 seasons before he took over as head coach (the Aztecs had two winning campaigns from 1997 through 2010).

With four straight bowl game appearances, SDSU has equaled its total number of postseason appearances in its first 41 seasons as a Division I program. After moving to Division I in 1968, San Diego State appeared in bowl games in 1969 (Pasadena), 1986 (Holiday), 1991 (Freedom) and 1998 (Las Vegas) through the 2009 campaign. Now, the Aztecs have appeared in four consecutive bowl games 2010 (San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl), 2011 (R+L New Orleans Bowl), 2012 (San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl) and the 2013 (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl).

After not playing in a bowl game for the 11 seasons from 1999 to 2009, San Diego State extends its school record of consecutive bowl games to four, as the Aztecs travel to Boise, Idaho, to face Mid-American Conference member Buffalo on Dec. 21, in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.