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Quinten Dormady throws three interceptions as Chippewas fall apart in New Mexico Bowl


Central Michigan quarterback Quinten Dormady reacts after throwing his second interception in the second half against San Diego State in the New Mexico Bowl Dec. 21 at Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Quinten Dormady tore off the helmet on his head and slowly walked with his head down to his spot on the bench.

He released the face mask of his helmet from his index and middle finger but didn't stick around to watch it bounce three times on the turf.

As the fifth-year graduate transfer quarterback took his seat next to offensive coordinator Charlie Frye, with true freshman quarterback Daniel Richardson standing behind, Dormady's head fell toward his shoes.

Almost as if gravity was in full control of Dormady's body after he threw an interception in the end zone after Central Michigan got the ball down to the 2-yard line in a 20-3 deficit with 2:00 left in the first half.

The punishment implemented by San Diego State extended a full four quarters, resulting in a 48-11 loss in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday at Dreamstyle Stadium.

"You're not going to beat anybody when you turn the ball over five times," said first-year coach Jim McElwain.

Dormady finished 11 of 26 for 164 yards and three interceptions.

Already trailing 41-11 at the 1:25 mark in the third quarter, Dormady was officially benched in favor of senior backup Tommy Lazzaro.

Lazzaro, who had scored six touchdowns in the last three games, only got one full series before McElwain gifted Richardson the keys to the offense for the fourth quarter.

The offense under Richardson was no different than with Dormady and Lazzaro at the helm – lifeless.

"You know, they beat the heck out of us up front," McElwain said. "It was tough to make throws back there when you get the pressure like we did."

Walking off the college football field for his final time, Dormady seemed emotionless, only looking straightforward and rarely blinking.

After all, the struggles started on the third play of the first drive when Dormady was intercepted by Kyahva Tezino at his own 32-yard line. 

Four players later, the Aztecs were in the end zone on a completion from quarterback Ryan Agnew to Jesse Matthews for a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.

"We gave them the ball," McElwain said. "First series we get a batted ball, and they go in and score. Anybody can do that."

From the 11:46 mark of the second quarter to the 5:13 mark of the third quarter, San Diego State put together 27-straight points for a 34-3 edge.

The Aztecs came into the game averaging 329.3 yards and 19 points per game, both the worst in the Mountain West Conference.

McElwain's defense gifted San Diego State coach Rocky Long's group 510 yards and 48 points in the beatdown, but he said the defense actually played well.

"I thought the defense played good enough," McElwain said. "They had a couple long plays, but they played good enough. We just didn't get anything done on offense."

The lone bright spot in the game was a 66-yard rushing score from backup running back Kobe Lewis, as Lazzaro handed the football to him, fooled the defense into thinking he still had it and watched the sophomore race down the field.

Lewis' touchdown run cut the Chippewas' deficit to 34-11 and pushed his season total past 1,000 rushing yards. 

"I don't care what the score is," Lewis said, "I feel like we can come back from anything as long as there's time on the clock."

However, the touchdown was nowhere near enough to mount a comeback as the Aztecs responded with two more scores to close out a 48-11 victory.

The Chippewas dropped to 8-6 overall with the loss, and the program remains winless in bowl games dating back to 2012.

McElwain called the season a "great success" after turning the program around from a 1-11 record in 2018 to Mid-American Conference West Division winners in less than a year.

But the last two games, in the MAC championship and New Mexico Bowl, have been a failure.

"I’m gonna tell you you do, you learn from your failures," McElwain said. "That’s what you do and that’s how you become successful. We failed.”