San Jose State’s David Fales capped off a wild fourth quarter with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Chandler Jones with 50 seconds left in the game, giving the Spartans the final margin in a 38-34 victory at San Diego State.
The Spartans were able to come away from Qualcomm Stadium with the victory despite being outgained 484-367, and despite a deficit on the TOP clock of 38-22. The main reason that the Spartans remained within shooting distance going into the wild fourth quarter had largely to do with kickoff returns, in which Tyler Ervin ran a 97-yarder back for a touchdown early in the second quarter, and a 67-yarder by Damon Ogburn, Jr. later in the second, giving the Spartans a short field to be able take a 17-14 lead. The Aztecs drove the length of the field but stalled at the 8-yard-line, and Chance Marsden notched an elusive field goal for the Aztecs, sending the game into halftime tied at 17.
The only scoring in the third quarter happened at the end of another long SDSU drive, this one for 90 yards and capped off by a fourth-down pass from Ryan Katz to Gavin Escobar for 2 yards, and the tone of the game seemed like the Aztecs had things very much well in hand at the end of the third quarter with the Aztecs leading 24-17.
Everything prior to this point was prelude to an exciting and scoring-packed fourth quarter, in which the Spartans were able to outscore the Aztecs 21-10 in that frame. For the quarter, Fales was 13 complete in 16 attempts for 183 yards and 3 touchdowns – including having completed his last 10 passes of the quarter.
This is not to say that David Katz did not play well in his own right – Katz went 17 for 27 for 213 yards and 2 TD’s on the game, and hit Colin Lockett with a 40-yard TD pass with 2:30 left in the game, but ultimately the SJSU Defense was able to contain Katz and SDSU rushers Walter Kazee and Adam Muema (who finished the game with a combined 292 yards) late in the game, giving Fales the chance to direct a game-winning drive for the Spartans.
On the season, SJSU is now 3-1 (a mark they have not hit starting the season since 2006), and they go back east to take on the 1-2 Midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy. Next week, San Diego State opens MWC play as they travel to Fresno State and welcome the Bulldogs to their new conference.