San Diego State Aztecs (1-0) vs New Mexico State Aggies (0-2) Recap
Despite a slow start for the Aztecs, they didn’t necessarily disappoint Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA, beating the New Mexico State Aggies, 28-10. New Mexico State, who lost to UTEP in their season-opener 30-3, surely had a bad taste in their mouth and was looking for a rebound against San Diego State.
After the first two quarters, that seemed possible as the Aggies held SDSU to zero points in the first half. Then, someone said something in the SDSU locker room at halftime that fueled the Aztecs motivation as they put up 28 points in the second half, 21 in the third quarter alone.
NM State quarterback Jonah Johnson and the Aggies struck first early with a 75-yard drive capped off by a 31-yard field goal by Ethan Albertson in the first quarter.
Johnson was decent in this game until mistakes started to happen in the second half. Before the first half ended though, he connected with Dominic Gicinto on a 8-yard touchdown pass that put the Aggies up 10-0 going into the half. Johnson connected with 9 different receivers, completing 34 passes on 56 attempts for 326 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions for the game.
San Diego State quarterback Jordon Brookshire had a little different of a story in this one. Brookshire completed just 7 passes on 20 attempts for 115 yards and an interception. He also scored a touchdown on the ground with an 18-yard rush that ended in a dive into the endzone, putting the Aztecs up 14-10 in the third quarter. This was Brookshire’s first rushing touchdown of his career, adding to the fact that the run game proved to be New Mexico State’s kryptonite.
Although the air game wasn’t quite there, the Aztecs really got it done on the ground. SDSU finished with 248 total rushing yards and 3 scores. Senior Greg Bell, who was the automatic “player to watch” in this one, totaled 161 yards on 21 carries and a TD. He also averaged 7.7 yards per carry.
Senior Jordan Byrd got 3 carries on the night for 48 yards and a TD. One of those touchdown runs was on his first carry of the game in the third quarter. Byrd ended up going 43 yards to the house to kick off the 4th quarter and put the game out of reach at 28-10.
I wonder what went down in the locker room for the Aztecs to come out and put up 21 points in the third quarter. Someone said something that provided enough motivation for the Aztecs to realize they were better than what they were showing. New Mexico State was flirting with a shut out, but the unstoppable force of the Aztecs backfield fueled the second half comeback.
On defense, the Aztecs certainly stepped it up in the second half, forcing the Aggies to make mistakes. 3 interceptions from NMSU QB Jonah Johnson, including a pick 6 by Andrew Aleki in the third quarter, which was a huge turning point of momentum.
Johnson was also sacked 5 times as the Aztec defense wasn’t going to let the Aggies feel confident and enjoy this one much longer. After the 3 scores in the third quarter and another in the 4th, it was inevitable that New Mexico State would deflate.
Despite the fast start by the Aggies, SDSU was not going down that easy. New Mexico State finished with 374 total yards on offense, San Diego State with 363. NMSU also had more time of possession (33:42) vs SDSU (26:18), but it wasn’t enough.
San Diego State has officially established the run game. Plain and simple. Although it took a whole first half to realize that, the Aztecs will have to keep that momentum going for the coming weeks. Keeping the Aggies on their heels in the second half was key for the SDSU win.
Will Jordon Brookshire keep his starting role? We shall see. Brookshire wasn’t horrible, but he wasn’t elite. More chemistry with his wide receivers will be beneficial moving forward.
For New Mexico State, they had a promising first half and ultimately shut out the Aztecs before giving up 28 points, all from the run game and defense. Moving forward, NMSU will have to do a better job at stopping the run and limiting mistakes.
Up Next For Aztecs
The San Diego State Aztecs (1-0) will travel to the desert of Tucson, Arizona to face the Arizona Wildcats on Sept. 11, 2021. The game is set to kick-off at 7pm at Arizona Stadium.
The Aztecs will look to improve to 2-0, beating their first two non-conference opponents. The last time U of A faced SDSU, the Wildcats won 23-10 in 2001. UA has won 4 straight meetings with the Aztecs, with SDSU’s last win coming in 1979.