SAN DIEGO (ABC4 Sports) – After five straight wins, the BYU football team ended the regular season on a disappointing note.
The Cougars committed three turnovers and managed to score just three points in a 13-3 loss to San Diego State.
Redshirt freshman Carson Baker threw for the go-ahead score in his first career start and Tariq Thompson had a strip-sack fumble recovery and an interception for San Diego State.
SDSU (9-3) rebounded from a loss at Hawaii that cost it the Mountain West Conference West Division title and a spot in the league’s championship game.
BYU (7-5) had its five-game winning streak snapped and lost to SDSU for the first time since 2005. The Cougars had beaten the Aztecs six straight times, including in their final regular-season matchup, in 2010 before leaving the MWC and going independent. BYU beat SDSU 23-6 in their most recent encounter, in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.
The teams didn’t come close to recreating their wild, high-scoring matchups in the wacky Western Athletic Conference. Ty Detmer famously rallied BYU from a 28-point third-quarter deficit for a 52-52 tie in 1991 at San Diego, throwing for 599 yards and six touchdowns.
Baker, who played at nearby Helix High, had never taken a college snap before getting the start in place of senior Ryan Agnew, who’s out with an injured left calf. Baker completed 19 of 24 passes for 172 yards and a 25-yard scoring pass to tight end Daniel Bellinger.
BYU’s Zach Wilson threw for 316 yards, completing 31 of 53, but overall had a tough night against SDSU stingy defense. He was intercepted twice and lost one fumble.
After looking lethargic for most of the first half, Baker led the Aztecs on a two-minute drill capped by his 25-yard touchdown pass to Bellinger for a 7-3 lead with 13 seconds left before halftime. The Aztecs had punted on five of their previous six possessions and were stuffed on fourth-and-1 at the BYU 10.
The Cougars had the ball at the SDSU 40 late in the third quarter and tried a flea flicker, but Thompson hit Zach Wilson for the strip-sack and recovered the fumble.
Thompson intercepted Wilson with 4:43 to play.
SDSU’s Matt Araiza kicked field goals of 44 and 27 yards in the second half. Baker had completions of 33 and 32 yards to Jesse Matthews to set up Araiza’s second field goal.
Wilson moved the Cougars down the field early in the fourth quarter before the drive stalled and Skyler Southam shanked a 26-yard field goal attempt off the left upright. Southam missed again with 12 seconds left.
Southam kicked a 24-yard field goal in the first quarter.
BYU now waits to find out its opponent in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.