#23 SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS (9-1, 5-1) vs NEVADA WOLF PACK (7-3, 4-2)
Aztec runningback Greg Bell rushed for over 100 yards, kicker Matt Araiza hit 3 field goals including a game winner as San Diego State outlasts Nevada, 23-21 on Saturday.
The Aztecs, now taking sole possession of first place in the West Division, have a good chance at a Mountain West title. They have also re-entered the AP College Football Poll at No. 23.
While just a half game ahead of Fresno State, who gave SDSU their only loss of the season, the Aztecs will need wins in their last couple weeks, facing UNLV and Boise State. Fresno State will take on San Jose State for their final game of the season.
SDSU quarterback Lucas Johnson found wide receiver Daniel Bellinger for a touchdown in the first quarter, getting on the scoreboard first making it 7-0 with 3:42 left.
Lucas Johnson finished with 21 completions on 34 attempts for 176 yards and a touchdown.
Nevada tied it up in the second quarter with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Wolf Pack QB Carson Strong to WR Tory Horton.
With 9:35 left in the half, Mid-Season All-American kicker Matt Araiza hit his first field goal of the day nailing a 48-yarder to put the Aztecs up 10-7, which was the score heading into the second half.
The Aztecs scored first in the third quarter on a 5-yard rushing touchdown from RB Chance Bell, his fourth on the year, making the score 17-7. That changed as Nevada WR Romeo Doubs caught his first of two touchdown passes with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
Doubs finished with 9 receptions for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Heading into the fourth quarter with the score 17-14, kicker Matt Araiza extended SDSU’s lead to 20-14 just three minutes in. With plenty of time to take the lead, Nevada QB Carson Strong found Doubs again, this time on a huge 54-yard touchdown that took the lead, 21-20 with 9 minutes left to play in the fourth quarter.
Strong finished with 34 completions on 48 attempts for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns.
After each team punted, the Aztecs regained possession with 4:33 left. A 12 play, 53 yard drive was then capped off by a game-winning 35-yard field goal by Matt Araiza. With just over a minute for Nevada to make a miracle happen, SDSU made a big 4th down stop and held on to win 23-21, taking first place in the West Division of the Mountain West Conference.
Nevada finished the day with 8 total rushing yards, their worst output since Sept, 6, 2004 in a game vs Louisiana Tech. This solidifies the strength of the Aztec rushing defense which has been ranked as the best in the Mountain West all year.
SDSU is now 8-0 and have won 21 straight games when leading after third quarter. They have matched their best 10-game stretch in 5 years, with at least a 9-1 start four other times (1970, 1976, 1977 and 2016).
Special Teams monster Matt Araiza continues to impress with his 33rd 50-yard punt, breaking the FBS record for most 50-yard punts in a season. Araiza has also now hit multiple field goals in 15 of 31 career games.
UP NEXT FOR AZTECS
#23 San Diego State (9-1, 5-1) will travel to Las Vegas to face the UNLV Rebels (2-8, 2-4) on Friday, November 19th. Kick off is set for 8:30 pm PT at Allegiant Stadium.