Looking to shake off a frustrating 6-0 loss against Nevada in their last game, the Aztecs went to battle against Utah State in front of the home crowd. After a scoreless first quarter of play, San Diego State would start the scoring with a touchdown pass to Mark Redman. By the end of the first half, they would find themselves hanging to a 7-3 lead.
In the third quarter, the only score of the frame would come from Utah State as they struck back with a touchdown of their own to reclaim the lead. In the fourth and final quarter, the Aggies would add on another touchdown to go up 17-7. With things looking grim for the Aztecs, they managed to strike back with a touchdown and a game-tying field goal to send the contest to overtime.
Jaylen Mayden would find Brionne Penny in the end zone to give San Diego State a 24-17 lead in OT, but Utah State ultimately had the last laugh. They responded with 2 touchdowns of their own and some clutch defense as they put the game to bed in 2OT and handed the Aztecs their second consecutive loss.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
SDSU fails to keep the OT momentum
Heading into the overtime period, the Aztecs seemed to have all of the momentum on their side. They had just completed a 10-point comeback in the final quarter and would have a chance to walk away with the victory in OT. They were even able to strike first during the extra frame, as Brionne Penny’s touchdown catch had the squad leading the game for the first time since the second quarter.
Unfortunately, they ended up letting all of the momentum slip away. The Aggies responded with a clutch 18-yard touchdown pass of their own to tie the game and force a second OT. This time around, they would start with the ball and reclaim the lead on a 20-yard touchdown run from Robert Briggs Jr. San Diego State would have one last chance to respond and score, but were picked off to seal the deal for Utah State.
It was a tough way for the Aztecs to let things go, and they came up short of an inspiring comeback win.
Briggs, Booth torch the Aztecs with the run game
On a night in which the Utah State offense was clearly committed to their run game, the team’s top 2 rushers made the Aztecs pay. Davon Booth and Robert Briggs Jr., a junior and sophomore combo, lit up the ground with a nice performance. They combined for 22 total carries and 136 yards to go along with 1 touchdown each in the winning effort. It was an efficient display as well, with the pair averaging more than 6 yards per carry as they made their impact. In the end, it was the Aztecs’ run defense that led to their demise as the 5’6 Briggs Jr. ended up running in the game-winning touchdown from 20 yards out in the second overtime period.
His height did not stop him from delivering one of the biggest moments of the game for the Aggies, who improved to 4-5 on the season. As for San Diego State, the lack of success against the run will need to be addressed going forward if the team wants to fight back and look better through the final 3 games on the schedule. It is critical that they are able to force opposing teams into their passing attack, which is where the Aztecs will be able to find the most opportunity to come away with turnovers and game-changing plays.
SDSU on the verge of first losing season in 14 years
Things have simply not been up to standard for the San Diego State football program so far this season. As the reported crowd of 23,096 watched on in Saturday night’s loss, the team fell to 3-6. With just 3 more games remaining on the schedule this year, the Aztecs will need to be perfect to maintain their 14-year streak of playing .500 football or better. Not to mention, the team needs at least 6 wins and a .500 record to be eligible to play in a bowl game. The task will be tall, but not necessarily impossible. The final 3 games will be @ Colorado State (3-6), @San Jose State (4-5), and vs. Fresno State (8-1). Two of the three squads are below the .500 mark, and the biggest challenge will definitely be in the season finale against Fresno State at Snapdragon Stadium. The season has been everything short of successful so far, but it will be interesting to see what the Aztecs have in the tank the rest of the way. A streak of more than a decade will be on the line, along with the consistency and legacy that it has come with it.
San Diego State will face off against Colorado State on the road in their matchup next week, as both of the 3-6 programs will look for win number 4.
The game is set to kick off at 4:00 p.m. PT.