San Diego State Solidifies West Lead With Win Over Nevada

San Diego State Solidifies West Lead With Win Over Nevada

Mountain West Football

San Diego State Solidifies West Lead With Win Over Nevada

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San Diego State Solidifies West Lead With Win Over Nevada


Game-winning kick


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SDSU is the clear frontrunner

San Diego State solidifies first place in the West division with a 23-21 win over Nevada. 

Nevada’s last game push falls short in Carson, California, falling to the Aztecs 21-23.

A lot was at stake Saturday night in Carson, California. With a win, either team would sit in sole position of first place, and would have complete control over their own destiny the rest of the season. Ultimately, it was San Diego State who came out on top, 23-21 and sits alone atop of the West division.

Both teams started the game slow; each punting in their first possession. But both the Aztecs and the Wolf Pack were able to score in the first half. San Diego striked first with a 99-yard, nearly six minute drive that ended with a two-yard completion from Lucas Johnson to Daniel Bellinger. It was 7-0 Aztecs with 3:36 left in the first quarter. Johnson would finish the game completing 21 passes on 34 attempts for 176 yards and one touchdown. 

The Wolf Pack were then able to score on the very next drive. Carson Strong was able to find Tory Holton for a 28-yard score, making the contest tied at seven with 14:55 left in the first half. It wouldn’t be the last time Strong finds the endzone in this contest, throwing two more before the final whistle blew. 

San Diego State was able to put more points on the board in the Aztecs very next possession. Matt Araiza was able to show off his monster leg and kick his first field goal of the night, putting San Diego State up 10-7 following Araiza’s 48-yard kick. The teams would go into the half with the score 10-7 following a failed 65-yard field goal attempt by San Diego State.

Nevada received the second half kickoff and started off slow yet again. The Wolf Pack punted on their first drive of the half. San Diego State took advantage of the Wolf Pack’s slow start and scored on their nine play 80-yard drive which ended in a nine-yard touchdown run by Chance Bell. The Aztecs lead 17-7 a little over nine minutes to play in the third quarter.

The Aztec running backs had a huge game running the ball against Nevada’s porous run defense. Greg Bell and Chance Bell had a combined 171 yards and one score on only 28 attempts. Greg Bell was able to average six and a half yards per rush which shows the dominance San Diego’s offensive line had over Nevada’s defense. 

Nevada was able to get on the board yet again following a pair of punts from each team. Strong was able to connect with his favorite target in Romeo Doubs for a five yard touchdown pass, bringing the game to within three, 17-14 San Diego State would lead going into the fourth quarter. Nevada was yet again down two key weapons in Elijah Cooks still being sidelined with his season ending foot injury and Cole Turner being out following his hard hit to the head against San Jose State. It wouldn’t be the last time Strong connects with Doubs to find the endzone. 

Araiza would extend the lead for the Aztecs, making it 20-14 with 12 minutes left in the contest. However, Nevada was able to respond on the very next drive. Strong was able to find Doubs yet again for a 54-yard trick play touchdown pass to give Nevada their first lead of the game. The Wolf Pack led 21-20 with 10 minutes left in the game. 

Following punts from each team, San Diego State took the ball over with four minutes left in the game and marched down the field to set themselves up for a 35-yard field goal attempt. Araiza was able to perform yet again and convert the field goal, putting the Aztecs up 23-21 with only 1:21 left in the game. Araiza, arguably the best punter/kicker combo in the nation, finished the game 3-4 in field goal attempts. Araiza averaged 55.6 yards per punt and hit the game winning field goal.

Strong and company looked to have a last minute, game winning drive, but fell short, just before mid-field. Nevada turned the ball over on downs which allowed San Diego State to end the game in victory formation.

Strong would have an impressive night despite the loss. The future NFL pick finished the night with 350 yards on 34-48 passing and three touchdowns but couldn’t convert when the game was on the line.

Next up, San Diego State (9-1) travels to Las Vegas, Nevada to face UNLV (2-8). Nevada (7-3) comes back home to Reno, Nevada to face Air Force (7-3).

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