SDSU Recap: Aztecs Hold Their Own Against Air Force, 20-14
The Aztecs hold on to their best season start in over 46 years.
The 22nd ranked San Diego State Aztecs went to Colorado Springs and defended their undefeated streak.
Going into Saturday night’s game in Colorado State, it was the Air Force Falcons pinned to win a low-scoring game against the San Diego State Aztecs. On paper, it was a game of attrition, matching up Air Force’s top-ranked rush offense 336.4 yards per game against San Diego State’s top-ranked rush defense at 61.2 yards per game.
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? On Saturday, it was a matter of who was going to make mistakes first.
On the game-opening drive at the Air Force 26-yard-line, Falcons QB Haaziq Daniels miscalculated his throw and threw right into the hands of the DB Dallas Branch who took it down to the 8-yard line.
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) October 23, 2021
The Air Force defense stiffened up and kept the Aztecs out of the end zone until the second quarter, but the Falcon offense wasn’t in sync and gave up another turnover. Before the half was over the Aztecs were up 13-0.
San Diego State held Air Force to under 192 rushing yards and forced two turnovers without committing one. They brought their A-game in stopping the triple-option, giving the Aztecs the confidence to hold on for their 9-straight against the Academy.
After receiving the second-half kickoff, the Aztecs put together a 75-yard touchdown drive ending with a Chance Bell touchdown.
It might have looked like all Aztecs, but the Falcons offense started to find some liabilities in the opposing defense.
Haaziq Daniels suffered an injury in the third quarter and had to be subbed for Warren Bryan. The senior from Pomona, CA brought a change in tempo and found open receivers and got his team on the board with an 11-play, 57-yard drive which ended in controversy.
On 4th down, Bryan hit Dalton King on the right side in the endzone for what looked like an incomplete pass that was defended by Patrick McMorris. To the studio crew at CBS Sports, it looked like there was no possession in order to be called a complete touchdown pass. Upon review, referees reversed claimed King had enough possession, and a touchdown was awarded.
Glad this one got sorted out for Air Force.
Initially ruled a touchdown, changed to an incomplete pass, then changed BACK to touchdown again. Officials were diligent with this one. pic.twitter.com/y32BbLfl1w
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) October 24, 2021
The big news that Lucas Johnson was going to start became a moot point as he went 11-of-13 for 72 yards passing. It was clear in the second half that Johnson was needed to win this game, Hoke needed Johnson to not lose the game.
In the end, Hoke trusted his defense to make a play, a stop, and just keep the Falcons out of the endzone. The Falcons spoiled some planning there as they scored a touchdown on a 15-play 89-yard drive with Dane Kinamon finding the endzone on a 4th and goal on the SDSU 3-yard line.
With the game 20-14, the final Falcons drive started at their own 13-yard line thanks to a 55-yard punt from All-American Matt Araiza. Hoke’s faith in the defense was rewarded as the front-seven got enough pressure in the face of the Air Force QB. On a 4-and-7, Bryan hit his receiver for a 14-yard gain that would be called back. Because of the blitzes, the Air Force offensive line panicked during the rush and committed an illegal chop block, negating the conversion and pushing them back to their 8-yard line.
San Diego State would run out the final 1:35 and notch their 7th victory in a row. The first time since 1975 they would start the season 7-0.
Up next San Diego State hosts their rivalry game against Fresno State in Carson, CA.