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No. 24 Aztecs Escape Upset, Defeat SJSU 19-13 In Double Overtime

#24 SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS (6-0, 2-0) vs SAN JOSÉ STATE SPARTANS (3-4, 1-2) RECAP

SDSU remains undefeated, improves to 6-0 for the second time in 46 seasons, starting conference play at 2-0. San José State falls under .500 to 3-4, 1-2 in the Mountain West.

Both sides couldn’t get their offense going as not one touchdown was scored in regulation. The score was 6-6 going into half time, with the spotlight being on the defense and place kickers Matt Araiza (SDSU), who was named a Mid-Season All-American and hit a career-long 53 yard field goal to make it 3-0 in the second quarter, and Matt Mercurio (SJSU), who tied the game at 6 early into the 4th quarter.

The Spartan defense was outstanding, shutting down a top 10 Aztec offense for basically the first time all year. One of the top rushing offenses in the country, averaging 244 yards per game, SDSU rushed for a total 70 yards on 36 carries. That is a significant drop to previous games, especially for Senior running back Greg Bell who is used to rushing for 100 yards each game. Bell finished with 41 yards on 19 carries.

The Aztecs 6 points came in the second quarter, being shut out in the other quarters. They had a chance for three points in the third, but Kicker Matt Araiza missed a 55-yarder, which would’ve been his longest in his career. Once overtime began, Head Coach Brady Hoke gave Quarterback Jordon Brookshire a break, putting in QB Lucas Johnson. This is when the game took an even more exciting turn.

Johnson connected with WR Jesse Matthews on a 14-yard touchdown pass to put the Aztecs up 13-6 in the first overtime. SJSU got their turn and put together a worthy drive ending in a 1-yard touchdown punch-in by RB Tyler Nevens.

San José State Quarterback Nick Nash, filling in for Senior Nick Starkel, wasn’t terrible on the day throwing for 228 yards, despite a huge overtime interception in the endzone by SDSU’s Trenton Thompson. In double overtime, the Aztecs repeated the Johnson-Matthews connection for a game-winning touchdown, ending the game in a 19-13 victory.

BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS

The Spartans and Aztecs combined for 20 penalties for 180 yards. It seemed a flag was thrown every 5 minutes. The Spartans finished with 12 of those penalties for 101 yards, Aztecs 8 for 79 yards. SJSU wasn’t hurt tremendously by the penalties, but it certainly slowed the game down that didn’t have much going on anyway. Moving forward, penalties will have to be limited in order to be set up for successful drives.

Despite the loss to a nationally ranked opponent, the Spartans played well. They had more total yards overall with 345 compared to SDSU’s 240. They finished with impressive numbers against the Aztecs with more first downs (19), time of possession (32:21), passing yards (228), and rushing yards (117). Not finding the endzone in regulation didn’t help as SJSU couldn’t get past the toughness of the Aztec defense.

Both defenses truly showed out in this game. The Aztecs proved yet again they are a powerhouse on defense, although they allowed more than what they average for rushing and passing yards allowed. Keeping the Spartans out of the endzone all game made it possible for the game to be sent into overtime and have QB Lucas Johnson save the day. With two touchdown passes in crunch time, it seems to me Lucas Johnson should get more looks in regulation moving forward.

UP NEXT FOR AZTECS

#24 San Diego State will look to remain undefeated as they stay on the road traveling to Air Force in Week 8. The game will kickoff Saturday, October 23rd at 4:00pm PT.