The San Diego State Aztecs defeated the University of Idaho Vandals, 35-21, Saturday night at Qualcomm Stadium. It was a closer game than the score may indicate, as Idaho, who entered the game 1-7 came ready to stop the run, and kept the game at a 14-14 tie at halftime.
Idaho held the Aztecs to 158 yards on the ground, and forced senior quarterback Quinn Kaehler to make plays.
Kaehler came storming back after the half though and scored 14 unanswered points thanks to a 58-yard touchdown pass f sophomore wideout Eric Judge, and a five-yard booming run from junior running back Chase Price.
The Vandals were not dead yet though, as sophomore quarterback Chad Chalich found a wide-open receiver in senior Josh McCain to bring the Vandals within one touchdown.
After the Vandals forced a punt, they drove all the way into the red-zone but fumbled the ball, and it was recovered by senior linebacker Josh Gavert.
SDSU would not look back after that as Kaehler found his favorite target, senior wide receiver Ezell Ruffin for a 28-yard touchdown with a little more than five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Kaehler had his best game since returning from a right shoulder injury, going 14-22 with 249 yards and three touchdowns. Ruffin also had his best game since returning from injury, and the season catching four passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns.
Judge led the team in receiving though with four catches for 107 yards.
Idaho began the game with freshman quarterback Matt Linehan, but elected to switch to Chalich in the first quarter, and he opened up the Idaho offense with his feet. Chalich finished the game with eight carries for 67 yards and a touchdown.
While the Vandals did an excellent job controlling the SDSU rushing attack, sophomore running back Donnel Pumphrey still managed to rush for 144 yards and a touchdown.
With the win, the Aztecs come within one game of being bowl-eligible at (5-4, 3-2 Mountain West), and will face Boise State next Saturday, in Boise.