Aztecs Grind Out 23-20 Win Over Eastern Michigan
The Aztecs have now won three in a row and enter a bye week before facing Boise State in the October 6th conference opener.
The Aztecs have been tested in the preseason, and have gotten the job done with surprising depth in player reserves.
The San Diego State Aztecs (3-1) prevailed over the surprisingly tough Eastern Michigan Eagles (2-2). John Baron II sealed the win with a 38-yard field goal kick in overtime. This game’s momentum swung like a pendulum.
Junior backup quarterback Ryan Agnew has taken over for injured quarterback Christian Chapman, and opened with a very dominant start against the Eagles.
Other backups filling in for injured players tonight included sophomore running back Chase Jasmin, redshirt freshman BJ Busbee and junior defensive lineman Myles Cheatum, for Juwan Washington, Tim Wilson Jr. and, Noble Hall respectively.
Jasmin took over in the second half after Juwan Washington was injured on a tackle and sidelined with his right arm in a sling for the rest of the game.
Jasmin was just shy of 100 yards rushing for the second straight game, finishing with 94 yards on 16 carries.
Agnew along with Jasmin, Cheatum and others showcased the Aztecs’ strong depth. They were tested tonight as Eastern Michigan came to SDCCU stadium with all intentions of winning- even as the 11-point underdog.
Both teams scored field goals in the first quarter before SDSU took a 10-3 lead on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Agnew to junior tight end Parker Houston two plays into the second quarter.
Eastern Michigan nearly tied it up on its next possession with a 50-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Wiegers to wide receiver Mathew Sexton. SDSU cornerback Tyree Woods was beaten on the play- but two plays later he forced a fumble that Cheatum picked up for the Aztecs’ take back.
SDSU turned that into a 17-3 lead at 9:03 left in the second quarter when Agnew found Busbee uncovered for an impressive 24-yard touchdown.
Agnew, was 9-for-13 passing for 134 yards and two TDs in the first half while rushing four times for 34 yards, was brilliant early on before throwing an interception with less than two minutes remaining in the half.
It became a serious momentum shifter, and the Eagles proceeded to score 17 unanswered points over the next two-and-a-half quarters.
In fact, SDSU was close to scoring again when Agnew had the miscue with his receivers and threw a pass right at Eastern Michigan’s Kevin McGill, who intercepted the ball and ran to the SDSU 34-yard line.
The Eagles, with backup quarterback Mike Glass III in the game, scored in just four plays. A 27-yard pass from Glass to Line Latu set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Glass making it 17-10 at halftime.
Glass took over in the second half and scored a touchdown with a 37-yard pass to Arthur Jackson III. The drive consumed half of the third quarter and tied up the game 17-17.
SDSU had a chance to regain the lead, but Baron had a rare miss wide right on a 36-yard field goal attempt.
Eastern Michigan kicker Chad Ryland then added a 24-yarder with 3:18 left in the fourth quarter making it 20-17.
The Aztecs experienced a game altering bad call when a referee called Ryan Agnew out of bounds after he connected for a first down pass. Replays verified he was not close to out of bounds. It was not contested. The Aztecs marched on, and Baron returned in suit with a gutsy 50-yard field goal at 1:16 pushing the game into overtime.
The Aztecs won the overtime coin toss and opted to play defense. Safety Darren Hall made a critical goal-line interception on the Eagles’ first overtime possession.
The Aztecs followed it up with Baron’s money-in-the-bank 38-yard field goal for the 23-20 win.
John Baron was a huge difference maker at the end of this game. The Aztecs overcame the adversity of injured players, a key miscue and one major botched referee call to grind out the gutsy win.
The Aztecs have big momentum with three straight victories and a bye week leading up to their Mountain West conference opener on October 6th at Boise State. The bye is at an ideal time, giving the Aztecs opportunity to re-energize.