SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS (7-1, 3-1) vs FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS (7-2, 4-1)
The San Diego State Aztecs lost a tough at-home matchup to the Fresno State Bulldogs, 30-20 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California Saturday night.
The loss was the Aztecs’ first of the season, dropping them to 7-1 overall and 3-1 in conference play. On the bright side, SDSU has had just four 7-0 starts in program history.
The Bulldogs ended the Aztecs perfect season, catapulting them back to the AP Poll. After this win against arguably the best team in the Mountain West, Fresno State could be the team to beat and could run away with a West Division title and a chance at a Mountain West championship with 3 games left to play.
Fresno QB Jake Haener passed for 306 yards and a touchdown, while RB Jordan Mims rushed for a career-high 186 yards and a touchdown. That was just the second time this year that an opposing back rushed for over 100 yards against the Aztecs. Mims’ fourth quarter touchdown was also the first rushing touchdown allowed by SDSUin regulation this year.
After the Bulldogs put together a 20-0 score during the second quarter, the Aztecs didn’t have a chance at a comeback.
Despite his 6th touchdown of the year, tying his career-high, RB Greg Bell of SDSU rushed for just 63 yards on 15 attempts. Bell is still the third ranked RN overall in the Mountain West.
QB Lucas Johnson had the second most rushing yards for the Aztecs with 60 on 8 attempts. Johnson also threw for 220 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. WR Elijah Kothe amassed a career-high 105 yards, though the lone touchdown pass went to WR Tyrell Shavers which came late in the second quarter.
Heading into halftime it was 20-7, the largest deficit SDSU has faced all year. Still outscoring it’s opponent 82-17 in the third quarter, the Aztecs couldn’t quite catch up.
The second half consisted of two touchdowns for the Aztecs, closing the deficit to 23-13 as the third quarter ended. A failed two-point conversion pass depleted the offense a little bit, especially since the Aztec defense finally gave in and allowed a rushing touchdown which has been unheard of all year.
SDSU freshman QB Will Haskell also had a rushing touchdown, which came at the end of the 4th quarter making the score 30-20. Haskell also completed 3 passes for 27 yards and two rushed for 10 yards each.
Fresno State finished with 485 total yards on offense, 306 through the air and 179 on the ground. SDSU finished with 412 total yards, 247 passing and 165 rushing.
Bulldogs QB Jake Haener completed 25 passes with zero interceptions, which was a plus considering Aztec QB Lucas Johsnon gave it a way twice by interception, which both led to points. Scoring in each quarter of the game kept the Aztecs out of reach.
When the run game gets neutralized, SDSU has a hard time scoring. They have also relied on a big play each game, whether it be a return kick or punt for a touchdown, a 50-yard touchdown run or a pick-6. The Aztecs seem to work well with momentum and they didn’t have much against Fresno State.
SDSU QB Lucas Johnson was solid, throwing for a season-high 220 yards, completing just 14 passes. The Aztecs haven’t been a passing team much at all this year, but it may be time to switch gears and put some more work into it. Good news is, Aztec QB’s combined for 247 passing yards in this game, their most in any game so far this year.
Fresno State is for real. QB Jake Haener throwing for 306 yards, RB Jordan Mims running for 186 yards and WR Josh Kelly receiving for 107 yards are great numbers. Keep the offense rolling and use the variety of talent to continue breaking down defenses.
UP NEXT FOR AZTECS
Aloha! San Diego State travels to Hawaii for another conference matchup facing the Rainbow Warriors in Honolulu. Kick off is slated for Saturday, November 6th at 5:00pm PT