San Diego, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Linebacker Kyle Van Noy delivered the biggest plays in the fourth period, forcing two turnovers and turning them into touchdowns, as BYU defeated San Diego State, 23-6, to win the Poinsettia Bowl Thursday at Qualcomm Stadium.
The victory gave the Cougars a record fourth bowl win in eighth consecutive bowl appearances and 31st overall in school history.
The Aztecs were ahead by 6-3 after three quarters, when Van Noy forced quarterback Adam Dingwell to a fumble and recovered the ball for a touchdown to give the Cougars a 10-6 advantage.
Jamal Williams followed it with a 14-yard touchdown run for a 16-6 lead before Van Noy completed his heroics with an interception of Dingwell’s pass and a 17-yard touchdown return for the final count.
For his efforts, Van Noy earned the game’s defensive MVP honors after finishing with a forced fumble and fumble recovery, one interception, a blocked punt, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and eight total tackles.
Junior wide receiver Cody Hoffman was picked as offensive MVP after catching 10 passes for 114 yards.
James Lark completed 23 of 42 passes for 244 yards but issued two interceptions for the Cougars (8-5). He was replaced late in the game by Riley Nelson.
Dingwell completed 12 of 29 for 144 yards for the Aztecs (9-4), who failed to complete a first 10-win season since 1977.
Adam Muema led the rushing corps with 103 yards in 26 rushes while Chance Marden delivered the only points for the Aztecs with two field goals in the first half.
In the first quarter, Marden buried a 27-yard field goal for the early lead and added a 23-yarder in the second period for a 6-0 lead.
Justin Sorensen put the Cougars on the board with a 23-yard field goal to peg the halftime score at 6-3.
After both teams failed to score in the third period, Van Noy opened the fourth with a forced fumble on Dingwell and returned the ball for a touchdown.