Tonight, New Mexico was the one with the "moral victory," something San Diego State is all too familiar with, and the Aztecs with the actual victory. New Mexico dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball; Lindley had to rush his throws all night (which was what I said they needed to do to compete) and the Aztecs were not able to get much pressure on Lobo QB Donovan Porterie, who ran for a TD and threw for another. San Diego State was dominated in time of possession as well; early 3rd down conversions for New Mexico kept their offense on the field.
After sustaining 3 early drives in SDSU territory and coming up with 10 points to show for it, the Lobos held the Aztecs scoreless in the first quarter. After giving up an 18 yard TD pass to Alston Umuolo, the Lobo's punter, Adam Miller, muffed the snap in his own end-zone and was crushed for a safety. Ryan Lindley lead a successful two-minute drill which ended on Demarco Sampson's first TD catch of the day, a fade route to the back of the end-zone.
The Aztecs took a 16-10 lead into the half, but New Mexico still lead the time of possession battle by a long shot, and SDSU could not stop the Lobo running game. After another FG, the Lobos took a 4th quarter lead at 20-16 that was short lived. Aztec QB Lindley drove down 80 yards finishing with Sampson's 2nd TD catch of the game, a beautiful catch in the back of the end-zone over the heads of two Lobo defenders. After the Aztecs took the 23-20 lead, New Mexico had burned all of their time outs and were forced to go to the air, where the quick Aztec DBs were much better suited at stopping.
The game ended on a quasi-controversy when a long 4th down conversion appeared to be made, but replays showed that not only did the WR not come down with the ball inbounds, Porterie had stepped past the line of scrimmage before throwing the ball.
After early 3rd down conversions, the Lobos finished 9/20, which is well above their average but not good enough to win. New Mexico gained more total yards than the Aztecs 383 to 303. An early attempt at a onsides kick and many mistakes by the Lobos probably cost them the game. Porterie and Miller's inability to hold onto the ball cost them as well. Today San Diego State snapped an eight-game losing streak to New Mexico, dating back to Nov. 4, 2000. The Aztecs also claimed their first victory over the Lobos in San Diego since Nov. 4, 1995.
"San Diego State improves to 4-4, marking the first time the Aztecs have been .500 or better this late in the season since the Aztecs ended the 2003 campaign with a 6-6 record. San Diego State snaps an eight-game losing streak to New Mexico and a six-game losing streak at home to the Lobos. The Aztecs improved to 21-15 all-time against UNM. Under Brady Hoke, SDSU has won four times in eight games (4-4). That is the same number of victories the Aztecs had in the 19 games prior to his arrival (4-15)." Game notes via Go Aztecs.com