by CFP Staff
December 24, 2010
The Mountain West conference captured a 5th straight Poinsettia Bowl with San Diego State's 35-14 win over Navy on December 23rd.
Freshman Ronnie Hillman ran for 228 yards and scored four touchdowns (1 receiving) as he shattered the Poinsettia Bowl record of 129 yards rushing set by Adam Ballard of Navy in 2005. The Aztecs broke open a tight game by outscoring the Midshipmen 14-0 in the final quarter.
San Diego State also scored 14 points in the first quarter with touchdowns on its second and third possessions. The first scoring drive covered 57 yards in five plays, ending with a 22-yard Hillman run. The next Aztec possession covered 93 yards in six plays and resulted in a 53-yard scoring play on a QB Ryan Lindley pass to Vincent Brown for a 14-0 lead. Brown finished with 8 catches for 165 yards.
Navy cut the lead to 14-7 on the second play of the second quarter on a 30-yard pass from Ricky Dobbs to Alexander Teich, but San Diego State when back up by 14 on a 47-yard Hillman run with 3:15 left in the half. The Midshipmen kept things interesting by responding with a 1-yard rush by Dobbs at the end of 10-play, 73-yard drive and went to the locker room trailing 21-14.
Navy marched to the SDSU 3-yard line on the opening series of the second half, but the drive failed to produce any points as a 4th-down pass was incomplete after head coach Ken Niumatalolo eschewed a field goal try.
A 15-yard pass from Lindley to Hillman stretched the Aztec lead back to 14 on the first play of the fourth quarter. Hillman's 1-yard run concluded the scoring with 6:07 left in the contest.
It was San Diego State's first bowl win since 1969 and only its second in history. It was also head coach Brady Hoke's first chance to coach a bowl game since he skipped out on Ball State prior to the Cardinals' 2008 GMAC Bowl when he accepted the SDSU job.
Navy fell to 7-9-1 all-time in bowl games and 1-2 in Poinsettia Bowl appearances. Its only win in this game came in the inaugural Poinsettia Bowl in 2005.
San Diego State improved its overall bowl record to 2-4.
Days of heavy rain had the floor of Qualcomm Stadium flooded with up to two feet water just 24 hours before kick-off, but crews were miraculously able to prepare the stadium for play.