After losing the Mountain West Championship Game to Utah State on Saturday, the San Diego State bowl game destination turned murky. A win and conference championship would have placed the Aztecs in the inaugural Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl as the conference champion. With a loss, the possibilities included several Mountain West tie-in bowls plus opportunities for several ESPN selected games in Texas or Arizona.
Ultimately, the Aztecs were selected to play in the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl against UTSA on Tuesday, December 21, in Frisco, TX. The game will be televised on ESPN with a 430pm kickoff.
The game will be played at Toyota Stadium, a 20,500 capacity soccer-specific stadium (Aztec fans have heard this one before) that houses FC Dallas of Major League Soccer.
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) December 5, 2021
“We will get an opportunity to play in a bowl game, which is always an exciting thing and also a reward for our players,” head coach Brady Hoke said after the loss to Utah State. “We can also set the school record for wins. We have an opportunity to still play for that.”
San Diego State did not play in a bowl game last year, opting against any invites given the COVID-19 pandemic. Their last bowl game appearance was the 2019 New Mexico Bowl, a victory over Central Michigan, 48-11. Jordan Byrd led the way with 139 rushing yards and a touchdown and Jesse Matthews added 111 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the game.
The Roadrunners of UTSA (12-1, 7-1) began the season 11-0 and were ranked 22nd in the College Football Playoff, one spot behind San Diego State that week, before losing their first game of the season against North Texas and falling out of the rankings last week. On Friday, the Roadrunners defeated Western Kentucky, 49-41, to win the Conference USA championship.
The only common opponent between the teams this season was UNLV, as both defeated the Rebels by one score.
Despite the lopsided loss to Utah State, the Aztecs remained in the College Football Playoff Top 25 Rankings, dropping only five spots to 24th. Two likely reasons the Aztecs did not fall out of the rankings are Utah’s dominant repeat victory over Oregon to win the Pac-12 championship and the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak within the San Diego State team that caused up to 20 players to not be available for the Utah State game.
The Aztecs (11-2) will try once again to set the school record with their 12th win of the season and erase the memory of a 27-0 loss to Ohio in the 2018 Frisco Bowl.